Candidates — Who’s Who and What to Know
The candidate’s position at KYA is one we’re all familiar with. Whether you’ve actually been in their shoes, or you just find the election process to be a highlight of this democratic conference, we can all certainly understand the pressure they’re under. We see them only in glimpses, scrambling down a corridor to give the next pro speech, or we catch a moment of their time to ask a question or get a business card. When you head to the polls Friday Night, make sure you’re informed on who’s who and what they stand for, not what High School they attend.
Allie McIntyre attends Martha Layne Collins High School. Her platforms are Medicaid expansion, filling the education gap, and the support of Marsy’s Law.
Beau Norton attends Henry Clay High School. His platforms are healthier options for school lunches, the eradication of Hepatitis A, and incentives for healthy teenage living.
Ethan Fain attends Rockcastle County High School. His platforms are providing funds to update and build domestic violence shelters, providing after school research opportunities, and fighting to end the opioid crisis.
Gavin Alfon attends Atherton High School His platforms are fighting to end the opioid crisis, legalization of cannabis, and workforce equality
Lucas Ball is a bluegrass candidate from North Laurel High School who has attended KYA for four years. His platforms include funding local youth centers, increased safety in school transportation, and welfare reform.
Greta Koszarek is a bluegrass candidate from Covington Latin School who has been a bill sponsor in the past, and is running for office for the first time this year. Her platforms include ending hunger, mental health, and environments related issues.
Josh Groves is a bluegrass candidate from Heritage Christian Academy who has attended the conference for four years. He is involved in drama at his school, as well as basketball and academic team. Josh’s platforms include increased school safety and tax incentives for foster parents.
Matthew Seran. This candidate is representing Kentucky Country Day. He is a creative young mind who delivered his speech today in a very unique way. Instead of just speaking in front of the massive crowd that had gathered at the nine o’clock Commonwealth Candidate Speech meeting, he had the moxy to rap his speech. In Seran’s masterfully spoken rap, he delivered his three platforms which included a message on opiods, a message on the redlining within Kentucky, and a message on the unfair treatment of teachers. This candidate is certainly one that we will be hearing more of in the future.
Megan Ackley is a promising candidate hailing from Holy Cross High School Covington. This Candidate is one of few brave souls who spoke in front of the Commonwealth Candidate committee that was gathered tonight. This young woman confidently provided her first official speech for the conference. In this speech, Ackley gave insight on her character and her beliefs, and Ackley related her three platforms to her past. She spoke about creating Art Centers for the state of Kentucky, making private schools more easily available to the average person, and providing convicts with the opportunity to vote. She now stands strong on the foundation that is her three platforms. She will prove to be an outstanding opponent for the other candidates this year.
One of the more memorable candidates who spoke tonight was Nick Skidmore. Skidmore used tactful strategies to related to the conference members tonight. Skidmore employed references to the popular Nickelodeon television channel. Many of the Commonwealth members have had positive past experience with this particular channel and Skidmore skillfully used this to his advantage. His humor made many members tonight laugh and enjoy his speech, but he quickly used this opportunity to make his name and his platforms known to the Commonwealth. Skidmore’s platforms included better education for the state of Kentucky, more awareness for the opioid crisis, and automatic voter registration. Skidmore’s bold platforms and relatable humor will ensure that his name is remembered during the vote for Governor tomorrow.
This year, Atherton High School has provided a promising candidate for the Commonwealth ballet. Riley Ramsey-Smith was the last candidate to deliver their speech tonight. The saying, “last, but certainly not least” stands true to this day. Although she spoke last, Riley provided three strong and unique candidate platforms. Her platforms included the food insecurity problem that Kentucky currently faces, making healthcare more easily available to the people of Kentucky, and the improvement of kinship care funding within the state. Riley’s platforms are certainly aimed towards making the lives of all Kentuckians better. Because of her character and platforms, Riley will be a worthy adversary for all the other candidates this year.
Standing as one of the several strong Commonwealth candidates is Autumn King from Rockcastle County High School. King’s three platforms all have personal connections to her, allowing her to speak passionately and personally about her issues. The first, making after school activities accessible to underprivileged students, comes from watching other, bright students be unable to participate in activities due to financial strain. King’s platform hopes to change that. Her second issue, ecotourism in Kentucky, stems from personal experience in her county. After the county’s economy began to fail after the exit of a large railroad business, it looked to ecotourism to boost itself. King looks to expand that to the entire state. Her third platform focuses on domestic violence after watching domestic violence plague her county. Autumn King has worked extensively within the Y organization and hopes to find the people’s vote on Friday.
Shamitha Kuppala, a Bluegrass candidate from North Oldham High School, looks to address issues that affect both high schoolers and the entire state. Her first issue, raising awareness about e-cigarettes, stems from her experiences in her high school. Kuppala’s second platform, education reform, works to more equally distribute state funds to help prioritize education. She chose this from her extensive community service and work that helped show her just how badly a reform is needed. Her third platform, the opioid crisis, tackles an issue that affects adversely the entire state. She has seen firsthand the devastating effects while working with an organization that worked to stop the epidemic. Engaged in music, cross country, KYA, and KUNA, Shamitha Kuppala hopes to bring about these changes if elected governor for KYA 3.
Zoe Sondergeld, a Bluegrass candidate, is a candidate able to personally relate to her chosen platforms, something which gives her a unique view into the things that she has chosen to represent her this KYA. The first, nursing home neglect, stems from experiences with her grandmother, who lives in a nursing home. Increased funding for animal shelters is her second platform, a viewpoint that stems from her time volunteering at local animal shelters. The third, increased arts funding for schools, aims to provide students with opportunities such as the one she had while volunteering at local theaters. Zoe Sandergeld has worked to find issues that she is passionate about and hopes to gain the votes of Bluegrass delegates.
Camden Ritchie is a Commonwealth candidate hoping to gain the votes of Commonwealth delegates. Ritchie has chosen three platforms that affect not only individuals but also the entire state. His first issue is educational reform, seeing as the education system in Kentucky is failing many students. His next platform focuses on green businesses, specifically to do with mining and coal. His third platform, the opioid epidemic, focuses on an issue that plagues the entirety of this state. Camden Ritchie hopes to be elected governor this KYA and has chosen issues important to him to make this happen.
Cammeron Durham, a Commonwealth candidate, has chosen three overarching issues affecting the entirety of the state of Kentucky. His first issue, environmental protection, aims to regulate the coal industry in order to allow for a safer and sustaining environment. Durham’s second platform, education reform, works to help Kentucky students in a system that may be failing. His final issue deals with the opioid crisis that currently is affecting Kentucky. Cammeron Durham has worked to perfect both his issues and his speeches and hopes to be the next governor of KYA 3.
Drake Skelly attends North Laurel High School. His platforms are coal work job transitions, veterans mental health assistance, and embracing the Arts.
Elizabeth White attends Mercy Academy High School. Her platforms are aiding underprivileged children’s education, sexual assault prevention and teen survivor resources, and drug addiction prevention in teens.
Hassan Kashif attends North Oldham High School. His platforms are renewable energy, community beautification, and higher education.
Larah Ballard attends Montgomery County High School. Her platforms are promoting Kentucky arts and culture in public schools, medical marijuana for eligible patients, and allowing felons to vote after serving time.
Kennedy Jones attends Boyd County High School. Her platforms are suicide prevention, bringing business to rural Kentucky, and equal opportunity.