Involvement in politics is nothing new for students at Andover. Even so, it is not often that the students are able to experience the process of a political election first-hand. A group of Andover students have now had the opportunity to personally work alongside congressional candidate Dan Koh ’03 as they support his campaign over the past few weeks.
The internship program began when fellowship coordinator Andrew Brockwell contacted students from around the area, encouraging them to support Koh’s campaign. Ava Ratcliff ’21 was among the students who received Brockwell’s message.
“I decided to join the fellowship program with Dan Koh because I wanted to feel like I was making a difference in America’s political climate. Also, Dan was an Andover grad, so it’s great find a candidate who you have a personal connection with,” said Ratcliff.
Koh’s student interns hail from Middlesex and Andover High School, in addition to Andover. Some students took action in order to experience what working for a political campaign was like.
Dani Valverde ’18, another student supporting Koh’s campaign, said, “For a couple years, I had wanted to get involved in a political campaign, but didn’t know how and didn’t have that much time during the school year. I’m a Senior this spring, so I turned over most of my extracurricular activities at the beginning of the term. I noticed I had a ton of time left over and thought it would be the perfect time to try something I had been interested in doing for a while.”
Koh’s family is of Korean and Lebanese origin, and they immigrated to Lawrence over 50 years ago. Previously, Koh served as Chief of Staff under Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Advisor to Boston Mayor Tom Menino, and Chief of Staff for the Huffington Post. He is now running for Congress with hopes of furthering progressive values.
Koh’s values include everything from a new education system to possible improvements in current issues with gun violence. He also wishes to foster economic development through the stimulation of businesses as well as government-established environmental policies.
Nathan Goldthwaite ’18, another intern for Koh, said, “In particular, I support Dan Koh because of the value he places on public education, his support for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research on gun violence, and his drive for innovation in government. He is an unabashed optimist, and I think that spirit is exactly what is missing from Congress today.”
Valverde says that two of her main roles as an intern for Koh are phone banking and canvassing. During these activities, Valverde often has to explain Koh’s policies to voters who are uncertain of whether they want to support his candidacy.
Valverde said, “During phone banking, I call voters and ask them if they’re voting for Dan and try to persuade them to support him if they’re undecided. During canvassing, I go door-to-door talking to voters, asking for their support and talking to them about Dan’s policies.”
Other tasks include collecting signatures and attending campaign events, according to Goldthwaite.
Goldthwaite said, “I collect signatures, discuss issues with potential voters, and attend democratic caucuses and other campaign events. In the office, I make calls all around our district and help out with anything else that needs to get done.”
Goldthwaite has found his time as an intern for Koh fulfilling.
“After a long period of dissatisfaction with our political moment, taking action has been an incredibly gratifying experience,” continued Goldthwaite.
Editor’s Note: This online article has been edited from the print version in order to correct an editing error.