Pursuit in politics with Representative Katie Porter

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Senior Isabella Feng Junior Anika Kanitkar and Junior Megan Lai pose for a photo in their Democracy Summer shirts.

Running from meeting to meeting and working closely alongside California’s 45th congressional district Representative Katie Porter, Senior Isabella Feng and Juniors Megan Lai and Anika Kanitkar participated in the Democracy Summer Fellowship over the summer.

There were two parts to the program. The Democracy summer program was on a national level where the members listened to speakers and engaged in group discussions and the Katie Porter program where a small group of 10 would work closely together with Porter to collaborate on ideas and perform more personal work alongside her campaign manager.

“I heard about the program before school ended and thought it would be a cool way to explore local politics,” Lai said. “I never [realized] how much goes into a simple town hall. It made me more politically aware and realize how prominent politics is in our daily lives.”

For the upcoming 2022 election, Porter is focusing her campaign on youth voter turnout, targeting college students and people in their early twenties. The fellows were tasked to brainstorm topics on voter turnout increase social media publication and reach out to companies and organizations.

“I learned the behind-the-scenes of running a campaign, and how national scale events can affect us locally,” Kanitkar said. “We always had a lot of guest speakers that taught us about political theory representation and the flaws of the government system. Then they tied it back into campaign finance and how to run a campaign.”

The fellows were able to learn the inner workings of a district election and get more hands-on experience. They dedicated hours of their summer to the program, and from it, they learned many new skills and strategies they can apply to their future.

“What I took out of this was the number of people and the diversity of people who were interested in the same things I was,” Feng said. “There was a pretty big age range. There were sophomores in high school to people who just graduated law school, as well as people from different regions of the country too.”

Feng, Kanitkar and Lai all participated in this program to pursue their interest whether it be politics or getting involved with their community. They were now able to see what it takes to organize and execute a political event.

“After the fellowship, I realized that I wasn’t too young to get involved in politics and the importance of helping out locally,” senior Feng said, “I used to think that you had to be a certain age to help with political work, but the fellowship taught me that younger perspectives and assistance are really beneficial to the success of a campaign. I do see myself having a career in politics, and I wanted to see the behind-the-scenes and also help out with a candidate that I cared about representing me.”