UAS student body President, Kevin Allen, balances school and student government while running for public office
By RICHARD MCGRAIL
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong
Kevin Allen, 19, was recently spotted helping a team of humans take down a group of zombies at Egan library on Sep. 22 during the annual UAS Human versus Zombies event.
However, Allen’s ambitions extend beyond keeping the undead at bay. Running as a candidate in the Oct. 3 municipal school board election, Allen wants to change the way the Juneau school system operates.
For many it is surprising to see a full-time college student start a campaign to join the school board while also leading the UAS student government, especially considering the competition.
Allen’s competitors include Brian Holst and Jeff Short.
Brian Holst is the Executive Director of the Juneau Economic Development Council with twenty years experience in community and economic development.
Jeff Short is a retired research chemist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who has lived in Juneau almost 45 years.
His motivation has everything to do with values. “Anyone who has a sense of dedication to a certain cause can be a leader. If you feel like your voice isn’t being heard, and you know others feel the same, then you have the right to express yourself,” said Allen.
Allen was born in Anchorage but lived nearly all of his life in Juneau. He was enrolled in the Juneau Douglas school district throughout his K – 12 years. He wasn’t fully satisfied with his quality of education, particularly in math.
“Math is presented in a way that doesn’t give students any enthusiasm to do it…it’s just, get the right answer and move on,” said Allen.
That frustration, coupled with a disappointing internship experience with in Senator Murkowski’s Washington, D.C. office, drove him to run for office.
He identifies, politically, as an Independent, and his experience in Washington, D.C. left a sour mark. During his time at the nation’s capital he witnessed a political system that was deeply adverse to his definition of democracy.
“Democracy is about ensuring that every view and every background is represented,” said Kevin. But that’s not what was happening in D.C., where he witnessed votes that were driven purely by party ideology and not by a real concern for addressing constituents’ needs,” he said.
“I wasn’t convinced that issues pertaining to Alaskans were actually being represented in Washington.”
He rejects the gridlock caused by a political culture which pre-defines people and ideas as either Republican or Democrat. Rather than creating policies that help people the United States political culture seems to be more interested in scoring points for their political party.
For him, the solution is both running for municipal office and for encouraging people his age to get involved in the political process.
Above all, this means helping young people not to be afraid of challenging the status quo, “[We] need to understand the system; [we] need not to be afraid of engaging in the system; and [we] need to be dedicated to changing it.”
For more information on Kevin Allen’s campaign email Hortauf@gmail.com.
On Election Day, Tuesday, Oct. 3, the polls will be open at 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. Election workers will greet you at the UAS Recreation Center, 12300 Mendenhall Loop Rd.