On Wednesday, the newly announced Spring 2023 Fellows in Residence at the Harvard School of Political Science discussed current divisions in American politics at its inaugural JFK Jr. Forum.
IOP Interim Director Setti D. Warren moderated a panel discussion among fellows announced last month that included prominent political figures and state representatives. Some of Setti’s questions revolved around bipartisanship and the panelists’ views on the political climate leading up to the 2024 election.
Quentin Fulks, political strategist and campaign manager for recently elected Senator Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.), talks about the importance of listening to voters.
“No matter their partisanship or rigidity, voters are complex — and they listen,” Fulks said. “People have been through a lot with Covid over the last few years, but they really care about who represents them.”
Matthew Raymer, the chief adviser to the Republican National Committee, who sat in the front row, asked the audience to raise their hands if they had ever attended a party convention in their state or county.
“When you’re talking about politics in this country, I think it’s really important to remember that the future belongs to the people who show up, the people who are going to put in the work, the people who are going to be involved. The stuff that’s not fun,” Raimer said.
Jamie Herrera Beutler, one of 10 Republican representatives who voted to impeach former President Donald J. Trump, said she will discuss respect for the The value of disagreement.
“I really, really believe we have to get back to the point where we have healthy executive officers,” she said.
“We also need to value each other,” she added.
Other members of the discussion included Kristin L. Amerling ’87, chief counsel and deputy chief of staff of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol; Negah Angha, former director of multilateral initiatives at the National Security Council; 544 Days of Washington Post opinion columnist Jason Rezaian.
Jonathan Haileselassie ’26, who attended the forum, said he found the broad political affiliation represented by the men intriguing.
“It’s really cool to see all these different ideas,” he said. “Seeing how successful they’ve all been able to be by following their beliefs to the max – it’s really inspiring.”
Attendee Kimani E. Panthier ’24 said the group’s policies are broader than those of its predecessors. He said he hopes the fellows will be “real” and engaging with young voters.
“As we move into 2024, I want to hear how we can change the tide of what’s happening in politics so we can mobilize younger voters to have more of a voice,” Panthier said.
Tenzin R. Gund-Morrow ’26, Crimson editorial editor and community co-director for IOP fellows and research groups, said he “loves” the forum and looks forward to fellows becoming more open about smaller research groups.
“Having a forum of six people is never really going to allow you to get the most out of these people, but the best part is we have the whole semester to continue to take advantage of them on campus,” Gund-Morrow said.
– Staff Writer Asher J. Montgomery can be reached at email@example.com.Follow her on Twitter @asherjmont