Meet the 18-year-old who’s already eyeing a senator's seat

By Angie Hilsman | Jun 21, 2017
Courtesy of: Mare Studios and Gallery Stacie Hartman.

Acting as her own public relations agent, Stacie Hartman reached out to Dartmouth Week, asking for a feature to be written about her. Sitting across a high-top table at Mirasol's Cafe, the 18-year-old delivered her campaign for future U.S. Senator.

The Dartmouth High Class of 2017 valedictorian will start at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. next fall with a major in government, and a focus in international policy. Having already interned under Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia and U.S. Representative Bill Keating, Hartman plans to eventually run for a congressional office.

“People think I’m crazy for wanting to go into politics at this time, but we need change. We need people who are willing to go across the aisle and find a solution,” said Hartman. Among her objectives, Hartman listed fixing the welfare system, working for children’s and women’s rights, and funding research on climate change.

Hartman’s career goals are in part charged by her family’s political savvy. Her oldest brother, Dan, is currently a lawyer in D.C. The 30 year old studied political science at Tufts University, attended law school at Cornell University, and spent a semester interning under George W. Bush, said Hartman.

“He’d come home and talk about what he was learning at the White House. He definitely inspired me to get involved politically,” she said.

At a more local level, her now 20-year-old brother Thomas — who is currently studying industrial labor relations at Cornell — encouraged Hartman to run for student government at Dartmouth High.

“At that time, I wanted to be a doctor. I didn’t even know I wanted to do politics,” recalled Hartman of her freshman year. “Tom was Student Council president his senior year. He encouraged me to go for it.”

As the Student Council president, Hartman’s initiatives brought back the College Acceptance Board, which recognizes students’ academic successes; lowered student parking fees; handpicked the graduation garb, which now includes a green robe and white stole; petitioned to maintain Advanced Placement classes that would have gotten cut; and helped interview the high school’s new principal.

“I don’t like sitting on the sidelines. If I see something, I want to correct it and make it better for my peers,” said Hartman.

But it was Hartman’s involvement in extracurriculars that strengthened her diplomatic demeanor. She participated in a cappella, theater, and the community service singing group Showstoppers throughout all four years of high school, as well as field hockey, winter track, and tennis for two years. She’s also spent the past two years as the student representative for the School Committee, one year on the debate team, and took home the Miss Bristol County's Outstanding Teen award in October 2015.

“Being in the performing arts has allowed me to be unafraid of speaking publicly, the confidence to be in front of large crowds, and to be a leader,” she said. “Being involved in Miss Bristol County made me want to run for office.”

Hartman said the experience felt much like a public service position with the community service and speeches. Plus — she was able to implement her own platform. Through the “Rock the Vote” program, Hartman worked to register Bristol Community College, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and Dartmouth High students to vote in the 2016 elections… even though she wasn’t old enough to vote.

“I don’t know who I would’ve voted for. I didn’t particularly care for either [Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton],” she said, adding that she’s now registered as an independent.

However, her age didn’t stop her from making other political advances. Hartman is currently the youngest Town Meeting member in Dartmouth, she said.

“I took out papers the day after my 18th birthday,” she grinned, having taken to heart a lesson learned last summer under Correia’s leadership.

“He was elected when he was 23, so that was a great experience to see how someone so young could make such an impact. It showed me there’s really no age you have to be to go into politics,” she said.

Looking forward, Hartman said she’s excited to be in D.C. “When there’s a march, when there’s a protest, I’m ready to go,” she said, adding that she must follow the advice she gave to her peers at commencement, to “make sure your voice is heard.”

In true politician style, Hartman concluded by thanking those supporting her, her four siblings and her parents. “Even though I’m dreaming big, my parents told me, ‘You can do it,’” she said.

Hartman plans to kickoff her career at Georgetown by running for student government.

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