Exploring Lauren Underwood’s support at Neuqua


Jason Verdin

Representative Lauren Underwood photographed with girl scouts that came in support at the ceremonial swearing in event at Neuqua Valley in 2019.

Jack RS

At Neuqua, we have many prominent supporters for Lauren Underwood’s reelection. Ryan Miller, a senior who is a youth ambassador for Underwood’s campaign details why he’s so committed:

The reason I started campaigning for Lauren was her unique energy. She’s very different from a lot of her peers. She’s not a career politician or representing special interests, she truly is working for the people. She’s one of the most effective members of Congress, having passed 10 pieces of legislation in just 3 years, ranging from protecting veterans to bettering maternal care. She also is a huge supporter of student mental health. You may remember that she came to Neuqua last year after our school had issues with mental health, including a suicide, which shows that her constituents are high on her priority list, so that’s what drew me to her. These are not characteristics that you find often in politicians.” – Ryan Miller

Another senior student at Neuqua, Ethan Lopez, has similar views on his commitment to Underwood’s campaign.

“Representative Underwood is unique in her ability to deliver for this district … she’s passed ten bills into law under two different presidents of different parties … It’s of no debate that this is an incredibly contentious election … There is no telling what may happen legislatively should the party controlling the House switch halfway through President Biden’s term.” – Ethan Lopez

Many students feel enticed towards Representative Underwood’s reelection for what her challenger’s views could entail in the House. With contentious issues like abortion being left up to states to decide their own policy, many fear that Gryder could usher in an era for Illinois that would represent many of the wrong values.

“The decision in November is simple: we either vote for Lauren, who has time and time again shown her dedication to our district and its people, or we vote for Scott Gryder, who believes that climate change isn’t an issue, that the 2020 election results were “debatable,” and that a woman’s right to bodily autonomy should be taken by the national government. Gryder’s America is not a place I want to live in. We are the generation that will inherit this country and planet, so we need to stop giving dangerous politicians like Gryder any support.” – Ryan Miller

“We’ve seen the headwinds blowing against the Democratic Party, and especially with certain rights previously enshrined being reconsidered by the national Republican party.”

For these students, getting the word out to vote has been their top priority, and do not advocate for staying docile in this election.

“In my opinion, it’s a waste- a drop deferred from forming a wave of change. Certainly if one chooses not to vote, I cannot fault them, but they can then not complain about the results that they refused to input into.” – Ethan Lopez

“Early voting starts on the 24th, so if you are of age, please get out and support Lauren. If you are not of age, like me, you can have a massive impact by volunteering with our campaign. If you can’t vote, talk to people who can, and make sure they mark Lauren on their ballot.” – Ryan Miller

AP Government and Politics teacher Mrs. Tufo, answers why Representative Underwood has so much support.

“Oh, Jack, I think you know the number one reason, tell me the number one reason.” – Mrs. Tufo

“She’s an alumni.” – Jack RS said after being asked the previous question by Mrs. Tufo.

Mrs. Tufo also has high hopes for youth participation and expectations for the future of politics.

“I know we certainly have seen a spike up of Youth participation in the last two elections and I am personally hopeful that that keeps up so I’m crossing my fingers. We need to bring back the ability to have civil conversations and talk to people that think differently than us and not just assume that they are evil. That’s my challenge to all of you voters out there to bring back thoughtful conversation.” – Mrs. Tufo

In the end, the support for Lauren Underwood at Neuqua for her upcoming election shows many things: higher youth participation in politics especially in the midwest, increased awareness of values, and an educated mass of people.