Young Elected Official Leads at CUA
As a sophomore in high school, Connor Kurtz was dissatisfied with decisions that were being made by his local school board in Pennsylvania. He began attending meetings in an effort to contribute to the decision-making process. When election season rolled around, he made the bold choice to run for a spot on the Daniel Boone Area Board of School Directors.
“Running for office while still in high school did present some challenges,” explains Kurtz, now a junior politics major at CUA.
“For one, I was unsure of how voters would react to seeing a high schooler on the ballot. After campaigning door-to-door with a few volunteers and receiving some local press coverage, I won a competitive four-way race for the nomination of the Republican Party. Even though I campaigned on a conservative platform aimed at reducing costs and holding the line on property taxes, Democratic voters awarded me their nomination as well.”
As the nominee of both major parties, Kurtz easily won a seat on the board. In December 2011, he assumed his duties while still a senior in high school. His election was featured by USA Today and several local media outlets.
“I got right to work,” says Kurtz. “The board began adding Advanced Placement classes, adding instructional time to the school day, and paying down debt. Notably — and in stark contrast to most school districts — we passed three budgets in a row that included 0% tax increases.”
He has since been elected treasurer of the school district and then vice president of the board, which means he must make occasional bus trips from Washington, D.C., to his hometown for meetings, workshops, and voting.
His political experience recently landed him a spot on the “30 Under 30 List” produced by the Red Alert Politics website. Honorees were selected for “making a difference on their campuses and in their communities” and for “the positive impact they have had on the conservative movement.” Kurtz said he was “honored” and flattered” by the selection.
Although commuting between D.C. and Pennsylvania makes it a challenge to balance his time, Kurtz finds the experience rewarding. He gets to work on behalf of his local community while attending a University he loves.
“I believe that our school offers something that most universities don't offer — a firm commitment to truth and a curriculum designed to highlight the interaction of faith and reason. CUA is an institution of higher learning where the pursuit of truth is always at the forefront.
“The University's commitment to educating the future leaders and scholars of the Church, the nation, and the world is served well by its location in Washington, D.C. For students interested in government, Catholic University is the perfect school to further your studies.”
At CUA, Kurtz quickly got involved in student government. He was elected to the Student Association General Assembly (SAGA) his freshman year. This year, he’ll serve as speaker of SAGA.
“For me, student government was a natural draw as it gives students a platform and a voice to work with administrators in shaping the direction of the University,” he says.
Kurtz also has been involved in CUA’s chapter of the College Republicans. Last year, he was appointed to serve a term as the national political director of the Washington D.C. Federation of College Republicans.
This summer, Kurtz went global with his political education with an internship in British Parliament. He worked for a member of parliament in the Palace of Westminster and attended lectures with a member of the House of Lords.
“Studying in London and seeing some of Europe's most historic cities was a great opportunity that I wouldn't have had without CUA,” he says.
Kurtz is interested in a future in government administration and law. He hopes to continue his education and his impact on the community.
For young people interested in politics, Kurtz has some advice.
“Don't be afraid to get involved. Learn the issues and work hard to solve problems. Remember that politics should always be about serving others and not about serving yourself. If you have the ideas, the drive, and the determination to win, you can't lose.”
Class Year: Junior
Hometown: Douglassville, Pa.
Favorite class at CUA: Constitutional Law
Favorite political movie: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence
Historical or current politician you most admire: Margaret Thatcher