Posted on December 21, 2016.
The Junior Statesmen Foundation is pleased to announce and welcome our three new members to the Board of Trustees, including a JSA summer school alumni and a former JSA Governor. The Foundation serves as the fiscal sponsor of the Junior State of America, a nonprofit founded in 1934 that provides civic engagement and leadership programming for high school youth across the country. Joining our Trustees are Scott Bekemeyer, Karyn Dest Harrington and Jennifer Bunn Hayden. Together, they bring a wealth of experience in law, management and policy, and represent backgrounds with experience from across the country.
Scott Bekemeyer is the Chairman of PRE Diversified Holdings, an investment company which acquires and operates specialty manufacturing companies. Scott holds an A.B. and an M.B.A. degree from Stanford University. Scott’s prior experience includes being Vice President of Business Development at ZipRealty and Co-Founder of Sierra Expressway, a commuter airline. Scott loves to travel and he is a former JSF trustee.
Karyn Dest Harrington is Vice President for Strategic Communications at Coca-Cola North America. Karyn began her career as a TV reporter in both Missouri and Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri and dual M.B.A. degrees from the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in Canada. She also participated in the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In addition to various SoCal JSA roles, Karyn is an alum from Georgetown Summer School 1995, Yale 1996, and was a resident advisor for two summers at the Georgetown Summer School.
Jennifer Bunn Hayden is a litigation attorney at Hueston Hennigan LLP. Jennifer began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Josephine Staton of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Prior to law school, she was a Teach for America Corps Member in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she taught fifth grade. She holds a B.S. from the Wharton School and a B.A. from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. Jennifer was Governor of the SoCal State and is an alum of Stanford Summer School 2000.
Posted in Alumni & Friends, Featured, JSA Today, MyJSA, News, Parents, Students, Summer School, Uncategorized
Posted on December 7, 2016.
Resolved, that the U.S. President be elected by the national popular vote, not the Electoral College.
Brief: When drafting the United States Constitution, the Framers of our government developed the Electoral College, the system by which we elect our Presidents. The Electoral College assigns each state a number of electoral votes based on its number of representatives and senators in Congress, and the Twenty-Third Amendment granted three to the District of Columbia. The electors are chosen by their respective state party and will only vote should their party’s candidate win their state. All but two states assign their votes on a winner-take-all basis to the candidate who received the most votes in their state. A candidate must receive at least 270 electoral votes to win a majority in the electoral college and be officially elected President. This system was designed to give each state an individual voice in the selection of the President but it does not consider who receives the most votes at a national level. Five separate times in America’s history, including in the most recent election, has the President won a majority of the Electoral College without winning the national popular vote, leading some some to argue the system by which we elect presidents should be more reflective of the voice of the American people as a whole, not as separated by the states. Is the Electoral College system too undemocratic for our current elections, or is it a necessary institution for the preservation of our republican system of governance?
- The President serves as President for the entire country, not the individual states or just those that voted for them, if we really live in a democracy then the President should be selected by the will of all of America’s voters.
- By giving each state at least three votes, the Electoral College unfairly makes some people’s votes count more than others depending on the state they live in.
- The Electoral College causes candidates to focus all of their attention to just a few “battleground states,” essentially rewarding candidates for ignoring most of the country and the issues important to them.
- We are the Untied States of America, not the United State of America, the Electoral College recognizes our federalist system of governance and gives each state an individual voice.
- Under a national popular vote candidates would only campaign in major population centers and ignore the issues important to Americans living in suburban and rural areas.
- The Framers instituted the Electoral College because they understood the dangers of direct democracy, the electoral college prevents a “tyranny by the majority” from any one region or population of the country.
For more background on the formation and functions of the Electoral College click here. For more arguments in favor of this resolution click here. For more arguments against this resolution click here.
Posted in Featured, National Debate of the Month, Uncategorized
Posted on November 30, 2016.
In the wake of this election, I return to what drives me most days, and that is: How can I change things for the better, right here, right now? Whose life can I improve today? How can I make the city I live in safer today? What can I do to improve the education system and education outcomes for the people in my city today?
It is the TODAY part that motivates me, because I know that each of us can in fact make a difference every day. We don’t need to wait for an election. We shouldn’t wait until we retire or have more time, or finish X or Y. We should do what we can now, today.
There are many organizations that deserve our attention, our energy and our financial support. First among them for me is the Junior State of America (JSA). I am convinced that a student-run organization focused on civil discourse and civic engagement is exactly what our nation needs…today and for years to come.
I watch our incredible JSA students, more than 10,000 of them across the country, grapple with challenging political questions with a grace and dignity few grown ups managed to muster during this political campaign. I find myself in awe of the sophistication of JSA student discourse, and the near boundless empathy they show for their fellow students, regardless of political, religious or ethnic background.
Please help us reach more young leaders with JSA’s unique student-led, student-run programs. I am focused on what I can do to support civic education and the rising generation of leaders TODAY. I hope you’ll join me.
Rachel Kaganoff Stern
President, The Junior Statesmen Foundation
Posted in Alumni & Friends, Be Inspired, Educators, Featured, JSA Today, MyJSA, News, Uncategorized
Posted on November 10, 2016.
As people across the country headed to the polls on November 8, 2016, JSAers made their voices heard by voting in a virtual election conducted on our app. Check out what tomorrow’s leaders had to say – not only on the candidates for president but on congressional races and ballot measures as well!
These results offer a glimpse at the priorities of the next generation and the representatives that speak to them and therefore offers telling perspective on the political future of America. The students learned the difficulty of making decisions that could change the course of a nation while also developing an understanding of the importance of voting to our American Democracy. They were also given the opportunity to share their opinion and learn from others by posting on an activity feed that included candidate endorsements, pictures of mock elections at schools, and real-time election updates.
Mauricio Macias, a Senior at Cibola High School in Yuma, Arizona explained the feeling of empowerment he experienced through the online election.“Many high school students don’t have the ability to vote because of age restriction but JSA again gives them an opportunity to express the voice. Being able to vote; even though it wasn’t an official ballot, gave me the opportunity to express my voice and participate in a democratic process that wouldn’t of bee provided otherwise. JSA does this everyday for thousands of high school students and i’m privileged to be be given this opportunity.”
Check out the results below.
Posted in Be Inspired, JSA Today, News, Uncategorized