Hawkin’ for the Demos

Mike Hawkins

Photo By Tom Angel

There aren’t many people who are able to say that their hobby is also their occupation. Michael Hawkins is proud to say that his occupation is more than just a hobby, it’s his passion. He has worked in “electoral politics” in various ways for 23 years and now works for the California Democratic Party. Students will recognize him as the unassuming gentleman who sets up shop every day registering voters on an ironing table adjacent to the Meriam Library. He was raised in a family where the discussions often turned to politics, an influence that gave birth to his political passion. He hopes to see as much public involvement as possible and nurtures that hope every day on the Chico State campus.

Why are you so passionate about politics?

Government is the country’s most important entity. A third of the money you will spend in your life is transferred through government: public schools, Social Security, health, safety, employment, education, higher education. I have a hard time not looking at myself as a participant in some way. I work in politics all the time; voter registration is just part of it.

What is your motivation in registering voters?

It’s the thing I like to do. Some folks have their hobbies, such as fishing or golfing. [For me] this is occupation, profession, socialization, this is it, integrating all social aspects of my life into one.

Why set up shop here?

Because this is where the unregistered voters are found. We are in business to register as many Democrats as we can. We are here to promote a progressive agenda for our country. Younger people are not particularly partisan, but one thing that makes their faces look like they have bit into a lemon is to suggest that they are Republican. The Republican Party has really soured young people, and with good reason.

What else do you like to do?

I don’t have many hobbies that are unrelated to public affairs. People who follow public affairs a lot, people who bump into me on the street, they know me by my function and not necessarily by my name, and that’s perfectly fine. The guy that gets off at five o’clock when the factory whistle blows and he hits his time card and then he’s in another mode—my sympathies go out to him because he hates part of his daily life. You ought to enjoy what you are doing. What I do is who I am in public.