In January 2017, Will Haskell sat in his dorm at Georgetown University watching President Obama’s farewell address on television. Obama urged Americans who were disappointed with their elected officials to “grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office ourselves.” Will did. And a few months later, Obama endorsed his campaign.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science and government in 2018, Will was elected as state senator of Connecticut’s 26th District. At 22 years old, he was the youngest state senator in the country, and dedicated his work to issues impacting young people. He fought to make community college free in Connecticut, and helped to enact some of the strongest gun laws in the nation. Last year, he spent the bulk of his time drafting and debating a new law called the Connecticut Clean Air Act, which will reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.
“Being a legislator is a bit like being a student—you never have the luxury of working on just one thing,” says Will. “A random day might involve criminal justice reform in the morning, renewable energy during lunch, and voting rights in the afternoon. In the evening, you’re probably shaking hands in your district. I loved the variety that came with my job.”
After two terms in office, Will Haskell decided not to run for reelection, and set his sights on law school instead. He joined the NYU Law J.D. Class of 2025.
“I came to law school expecting to love classes like Legislation and Regulatory State—and I do!—but I’ve also found myself totally enthralled with Torts and other topics I’d never given much thought to before law school,” he says. “Last semester, I had the chance to work alongside some classmates and assist an incarcerated person in preparing for his first parole hearing. He’s been wrongly incarcerated for two decades, and I’m incredibly excited that he is coming home to be reunited with his family in a few weeks. That work feels more rewarding than any exam possibly could.”
Will has remained committed to public service, representing students suspended from New York City public schools, and volunteering at a local soup kitchen. After law school, he hopes to work as a public defender.
“I ran for office because I wanted to speak up for those who were being overlooked by the government,” he says. “While politicians do that work in legislatures, public defenders do that work in court every day.”