Hannah Reichel speaks during an interview in Tim Kipp s class at the Brattle­boro Union High School. (Zachary P. Stephens/Brattleboro Reformer)
Hannah Reichel speaks during an interview in Tim Kipp s class at the Brattle­boro Union High School. (Zachary P. Stephens/Brattleboro Reformer)
Friday October 12, 2012

BRATTLEBORO - Even though most of them will not be voting in the upcoming presidential election, a group of Brattleboro Union High School students thinks it's never too early to get involved in politics.

Some of the students have formed a political action committee to help strengthen the activism that is already alive at BUHS, and also to get more students involved in the political process.

"This isn't just about working for a campaign," explained Jordan Renouf, 18, a senior who can vote in the November election. "We're trying to talk with kids who aren't involved and expose them to issues because they are the ones who are going to become influential."

The BUHS PAC was formed earlier during this school year when students began to volunteer for state and national campaigns. Some of them have worked in New Hampshire, and in offices in Brattleboro over the past few weeks.

Hannah Reichel, 17, a senior, said the students recognized that there was a strong groundswell throughout the school to make an impact on the November races. And after talking about the campaign work Reichel said the students wanted to sustain that enthusiasm beyond the election.

"We hope this is a way to keep students involved in politics," said Reichel. "Informed voters make better decisions and that makes a stronger democracy."

Reichel said the group is nonpartisan and it was set up to be open to all political parties, though she admits it has been hard to get Republicans involved in the bluest corner of the bluest state.

After the election, Lachlan Francis said the PAC leaders hope to reach out to get other political sides involved in issues that might more easily bring together opposing viewpoints.

"The main thing we want to do is promote dialogue," he said. "We want to hear different opinions."

"We want to find out what students can do," said Elleanor Clovet Boyle. "We want to find local and national issues that we can work for."

Peter Green, 18, said the group's meetings will be a place to talk about issues and maybe find other students who share a passion for an issue.

The BUHS PAC will not take a stand, but will rather help its members dive deeper into the political waters and find a role for the students.

They hope to meet with state legislators to get involved in the upcoming session in Montpelier, and they hope to get more sophomores and juniors involved to ensure that the organization remains active into the future.

"This group is about coordinating the efforts of people who are doing work," said Green. "And it's a way of finding people with the same ideology who want to work and take action."

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer.com or at 802-254-2311 ext. 279.