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Advocacy club seeks to involve students in policy, lobbying

Photo by Bryce Owen ’17 | Students and faculty gather to look at the Advocacy club’s expo on political candidates.The advocacy club put created an expo showcasing political candidates and their alignment with church teachings.

By Matthew Zacher ’18

The Advocacy Club is focusing their lobbying efforts this year on the issues of immigration and public education policy.

The club, moderated by Ms. Elizabeth Clarke and Mr. Will Rutt ’08 also features a student executive board.

Tucker Brown ’17 is a member of the executive board with four other students.

“The goal is to get high school students able to have some sort of involvement in politics, in general, regardless of whether or not they can vote,” Brown said.

Brown said that there is a misconception among the electorate that voting is the only thing you can do to get involved.

“In reality there is a lot more,” he said. “You can get involved by writing to your state legislators, national legislators and lobby.”

Brown said that this year the club’s main focus is immigration policy.

“We do a lot of research,” he said. “The different visas you can get, the different things you have to go through, it’s a super extensive process. So, we are going to try to understand that process before we go to the Ignatian Family Teach In for Justice in D.C. and start lobbying.”

Ms. Clarke said she believes students are especially effective when it comes to advocating for change.

“Kids don’t really have an agenda,” she said. “They’re not paid lobbyists, so if you go talk to a politician, there is an ethos there that doesn’t necessarily always exist with people who have been paid to lobby on a particular issue.”

Ms. Clarke said that it is important to see how the political world works.

“It is great experience for you all to have to see what this world looks like and how it functions,” she said. “There is so much room to do this kind of work, and it is such important work.”

The Advocacy Club is partnering with the Kino Border Initiative this year in lobbying for immigration policy.

Brown said that immigration is a complicated issue, and as such, you cannot tackle the whole thing.

“We can’t just ask for comprehensive immigration reform, that’s not going to get anything done,” he said. “When it comes to lobbying you have to figure out very specific asks, things that legislators can do, and then you also have to have plan A through Z figured out as far as what the other options will be.”

Brown said that the club plans to meet with U.S. Sen. John McCain while in D.C. for the IFTJ, but as he is in a re-election fight against Ann Kirkpatrick, they must be prepared for any circumstance.

The club meets Mondays at lunch in Ms. Clarke’s room and is open to all students.