Introducing the Harriton Youth Voter Committee


With the upcoming election and a rising number of politically active youth, The Banner has compiled 12 passionate seniors and juniors to form the first-ever Harriton Youth Voter Committee (HYVC). This committee aims to present our readers with a variety of voices along the political spectrum and give insight into how some Harriton students view our current socio-political climate. The twelve members include (in alphabetical order):

Thomas Batteur (12th)

Lana Burke (11th)

Neha Dhanwada (12th)

Sarina Goyal (12th)

Evie Greenberg (11th)

Olivia Kim (12th)

Kaelyn Klatte (12th)

Gabriel Klaumenzer (11th)

Ben Kozloff (12th)

Erika Kurre (12th)

Ben Samahon (11th)

Jordan Teicher (11th)

Today we publish the first of a series of interviews that will occur during the upcoming months. Read more about our twelve members below.

What interesting perspectives and experiences do you hope to bring to the HYVC?

Thomas Batteur: I am involved in Foreign Policy Youth Collaborative as a content producer. I have garnered experience by writing a multitude of op-eds and editorials regarding current socio-political issues. I have also guest-starred on podcasts where I have debated my peers on certain topics.

Lana Burke: I come from a very diverse and mixed background; I am a young woman of two religions—Jewish and Christian (both practiced)—and two different ethnicities—white and Latina. Because of this, I have gotten to experience this same diversity in politics, and therefore have been exposed to people of all views. With both sides of my family being so different, I have experienced the highs and lows of differences of political views. Therefore, I have come to realize that there needs to be a wide range of representation when it comes to political groupings, and every side needs to be properly heard, without fear of judgement. In my eyes, no opinion is too ‘controversial’ to discuss without anger, violence, or judgement.

Neha Dhanwada: I am keen on becoming as involved in as much politics as possible, even in high school. I am a poll worker, and I am going to be voting in this upcoming election. Since I am a first-generation Indian-American, I will be the first in my family to vote in a US election. 

Sarina Goyal: Having attended protests firsthand, I could provide the perspective of the people. I also have an informed perspective of someone who understands our government and keeps up with the news. I’ve been passionate about social justice issues my whole life and I try to make a difference in any way that I can.

Evie Greenberg: I started and run the Young Democrats and Republican Club at Harriton, and I regularly look for opportunities to participate in politics at my young age.

Olivia Kim: I am very politically active and do a lot of personal reading on various topics including social justice issues, race, and economics. I think I present a fresh take on modern democratic-socialism.

Kaelyn Klatte: I am an active and outspoken student; I love politics and I am quite up-to-date with current events. I am a U.S. Dual citizen, so I also offer a global, outside view on American politics.

Gabriel Klaumenzer: While I am democratic, I try to see issues from both parties before making a real decision. I also was in a debate camp over the summer and know how to see an issue from both sides and the pros and cons for the problem. Although I was born in the US, I come from a family who immigrated here, which allows me to see issues from an even broader view.

Ben Kozloff: Debate and political discourse are at the bedrock of American Democracy. I enjoy participating in these activities in a civil and constructive way. I am always able to find common ground with those who disagree with me and can use those commonly held beliefs to propose new ideas. 

Erika Kurre: I try to stay up to date with politics and other current events through social media, news outlets, and conversation. I am a part of the Varsity Debate team. I have also written multiple of my IB assessments on topics such as representations of women in politics or the disproportionate effects of Roe v Wade. Lastly, two years ago I moved from Portland, Oregon, an extremely democratic state, to Pennsylvania, a state that voted red in the last presidential election. I can provide insight on issues like mail-in ballots, since Oregon does entirely mail-in ballots, among other things. 

Ben Samahon: I would be able to provide a very neutral perspective on current issues, which could be hard to find in such a liberal area and polarized political climate. In addition, I have a good amount of experience and background in politics, mainly stemming from my parents’ jobs in law and the justice system, as well as activism.

Jordan Teicher: I have a strong view on political topics. I watch the news every day and would be bringing the perspective of a youth Republican who has ideas that are more right-leaning.

How would you describe yourself in terms of interest in politics?

TB: My political leanings are multi-faceted. However, my views are considered (by many of my peers) to be leaning towards the right. 

SG: I think with the leadership this country currently has and the countless issues we’re facing, keeping up with politics and fighting for social justice issues is more important now than ever. 

EG: I would describe myself as a moderate to progressive Democrat, and I am passionate about women’s rights, reproductive rights, criminal reform, and economics. 

KK: I identify as independent, although my beliefs are more left-leaning. My views on social issues (i.e. racism, inequality, abortions…) and the environment, for example, are much more left, while other issues (i.e. economy) are slightly right-leaning.

BK: I identify as a conservative. I believe that the government should be small and should serve to protect the rights of all Americans. That being said, I believe that there are limitations on what the federal government can do as described by the Constitution. I am generally for lower taxes and less government spending. Socially, I believe that all Americans should have the same rights, regardless of gender, sexuality, or race, etc. 

BS: I would describe myself as a cynical independent. I am very socially progressive, however, I dislike establishment politics and our partisan system. Maybe I would identify as a classical liberal.

JT: I would describe myself as a right-leaning reader. I enjoy seeing what led up to an event rather than the end result.

What are you looking forward to in the upcoming weeks? What do you hope will be addressed?

LB: The COVID-19 procedures.

ND: I am looking forward to watching debates and would like to see the candidates address racial issues, along with the handling of the pandemic.

SG: I’m looking forward to more young people voting than ever and using their voices to vote our current president out of office. I’m also looking forward to people bringing up more social justice issues, such as race, inequality, and climate change.

EG: I would like there to be discussion around how to maintain stability in what will surely be one of the most turbulent political climates in American history.

OK: I would love to hear more about climate reform and PIC [Prison-Industrial Complex] and criminal justice reforms, especially considering Senator Harris’s history with private prisons. 

GK: Racism in our law and police departments, climate change, and how to deal with the pandemic. 

BK: I am interested in how the candidates will handle the current pandemic with respect to stimulus, the economy, and the eventual distribution of a vaccine. I am also concerned with the role of science in American policymaking; I would like to see America rise to the top of the world in scientific discovery outside of medicine.

EK: I am looking forward to seeing how the swing states will vote and how current events like the president—and others—contracting COVID-19 or Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination will play into how those states vote. Additionally, I am interested to see how mail-in ballots and in-person voting will play out amidst a pandemic. 

BS: I am looking forward to the future of both parties and democracy. It will be interesting to see the different directions the parties take if they win/lose the election, especially the Republican party after Trump usurped the throne. Could this be the end of the current Republican party? Will Trump accept defeat (and other fun questions about the death of democracy)?

JT: I want the candidates to address the danger that America is facing due to the riots across the country.