As registration deadline approaches, Fischer campaign makes push for student voters

Forrest Milburn

Around 20 students gathered on campus Tuesday to support recent UT graduate Huey Rey Fischer in his race for House District 49, eager to begin registering their fellow students at the launch of Students for Huey, a student campaign group.

Fischer’s campaign aims to actively reach out to voters on campus in anticipation of the Feb. 1 voter registration deadline. The group plans to use social media, tabling on campus and speaking to student organizations, all efforts Students for Huey can help with.

“If students wanted to, they could decide this election, and this is what we’re riding on,” Fischer said. “This is the first time in 25 years that students have had this opportunity to elect somebody to the Texas House that looks like them … and who understands their issues intimately.”

Fischer, a former legislative aide and 2014 graduate, is vying to replace Democratic State Rep. Elliott Naishtat — who has represented West Campus since 1990 — against six other candidates after the incumbent announced in December he would not seek re-election.

Each of the other candidates in the race have previously stated in interviews with The Daily Texan that they plan to reach out to the large base of student support residing in the district.

The other six candidates — all Democrats — in the race are attorney Aspen Dunaway, former Austin ISD president Gina Hinojosa, attorney Kenton Johnson, former NARAL Pro-Choice Texas counsel Blake Rocap, attorney Matt Shrum and UT law professor Heather Way.

While concurrently speaking to other organizations on campus, Fischer, a former president of University Democrats, will speak to UDems members on Feb. 7 in an attempt to secure a highly coveted endorsement from the student group.

If elected to the state House, Fischer plans to support a $15 minimum wage, push for student debt relief and oppose the expansion of firearms on campus.

“As progressive Democrats, we know the past 20 years of playing defense against the Republicans has gotten us nowhere,” Fischer said. “If we want to start leading this state again, then we need to push back with an agenda that is positive, progressive and truly meaningful.”

Fischer’s campaign officials believe his progressive campaign platform, as well as being the only openly LGBT candidate in the race, will help encourage students to not only turn out but to also choose him at the ballot.

“I think it’s really cool that someone who is queer [and] is the son of a formerly undocumented immigrant is also running because generally those viewpoints are not represented in the legislature as it stands,” economics and math senior Daniel Chapman said. 

Fischer said he would need about 3,000 students to support him in order to win a majority and avoid a runoff election. 

“We are going to gun for as many as possible, because the sky’s the limit with 52,000 students here on campus,” campus director Doug Snyder, business and government freshman, said. “Ideally, we’d love all of them to register to vote.” Fischer’s campaign is confident it can secure enough support to win and avoid a runoff election through increased turnout from the competitive primaries on both sides for president.

“We anticipate a spike because the Texas primary is going to matter this year,” campaign director Allison Heinrich said. “We’re going to reach as many [voters] as we can through outreach on campus, working in the communities, spreading the word and really just making sure folks we meet know about this election.”