FAIRMONT - Nearly three months ago, Andrew Hasek announced his candidacy for state chairman of Minnesota College Republicans. Almost overnight, he went from a first-year chairman at St. Thomas to political wonderkid.
A peek at the 2010 Fairmont High School graduate's campaign Facebook account shows endorsement after endorsement continually flooding the pages, from his announcement up to his election last week.
"Essentially," he said, "I am the governor of Minnesota for College Republicans."
Andrew Hasek poses with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
But Hasek wasn't always interested in politics.
It wasn't until an opportunity in high school, during the election of 2008, when he participated in the Minnesota High School Page program, that Hasek was really introduced to the process.
"I found the atmosphere to be extremely exciting and always changing," he said.
During his time as a page, Hasek met state Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, with whom he eventually interned. He also worked with Gunther and state Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, on their recent campaigns.
Hasek, a junior who is double majoring in political science and economics, will oversee development and leadership of every College Republicans chapter in Minnesota, something he hopes will mirror the success he saw when he took over and turned around an ailing program at St. Thomas.
Hasek joined the group as a freshman, but found little time to attend gatherings because of other commitments. But as those came to an end, he began investing more time with the group.
"I definitely wanted to join the St. Thomas version in order to advocate for my conservative beliefs in small government, low taxes, individual responsibility and free markets," he said.
But he did not like what he saw.
He found events poorly attended, with little organizational excitement for the upcoming presidential elections.
Determined to do something about it, Hasek ran unopposed and was elected chairman of the school's club last year.
"Based on my contacts from my internship at the Minnesota Capitol, I was able to bring in exciting speakers in the fall, ranging from (Congressman) Erik Paulsen, to (former U.S. Senate candidate) Kurt Bills, to (state Rep.) Kurt Daudt," he said. "Meeting attendance quadrupled."
During the year, Hasek oversaw a doubling of membership. And 30 club members volunteered 630 hours to various campaigns across the state.
Hasek is committed to seeing the same success in chapters across the state.
"My goal for the 2013-2014 is to have every chapter in the state mirror the success of St. Thomas," he said. "There are two aspects to College Republicans at the moment: working on getting out the vote in 2014 and rebuilding chapters across the state to provide the Republican Party with volunteers."
With his new position, Hasek has become immersed in politics - he is the primary liaison with the Minnesota Republican Party, the spokesman for Minnesota College Republicans, and works with the College Republican National Committee.
Someday, Hasek hopes to run for office.
"My ideal position would be as a state representative or maybe even higher yet," he said. "I love politics and I love my country; I would love the opportunity to serve my community."