Former U.S. Sen. John Kyl will speak Thursday at Desert Vista High School - and the students who arranged for his visit want people to know he’s not just there to address them and their classmates.
“The community is welcome and we especially encourage students and their families to attend. We encourage people of opposing views to attend as well in order to see the other side of the political spectrum and ask questions about the common conservative beliefs and the senator,” said Allen Pan, a Desert Vista senior who is also the vice president of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter, which arranged the visit.
Kyl, a Republican who represented Arizona in the Senate from 1995 to 2013, and again in 2018, was named by Time magazine in 2006, as one of America’s Ten Best Senators, and he will be speaking from 3:30-5 p.m. Nov. 7.
Allen described the Desert Vista Young Americans for Freedom as “a group of politically involved high school students that wanted to make a difference in our community by promoting a conservative political perspective.”
“We promote conservative and libertarian values, specifically the ideas of individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise and traditional values,” he explained.
He said that while the subjects of Kyl’s address are still being decided, he “will be talking about his experience as he served on the Senate Judiciary and Finance committees, as the Republican Policy Chairman and served as the Senate Republican whip.”
Kyl briefly filled in the seat left open last year, following the death of Sen. John McCain, his longtime friend and political ally.
Allen said he contacted Kyl earlier this year after having shared the stage within in Mountain View Presbyterian Church’s “Heart of America” concert in 2018.
“He was excited to have received my invitation and responded quickly to have me arrange things with his assistant,” said Allen, adding that refreshments will be served after his address.
The son of Joy Pan and stepfather Qiu Lan, Allen said he and his colleagues in the school club formed their chapter last year.
“Our involvement in politics stems from our desire to make a positive impact and preserve our conservative beliefs,” he said. “After Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, and other recent political controversies, the political dynamic has become extremely polarized and dominated by ignorance.
“The establishment of the Desert Vista chapter of Young American’s for Freedom allows students like us to have a place to call home to defend our right of free speech and expression of belief.”
With graduation ahead, Allen is considering out-of-state schools as well as Arizona State University for continuing his education but at least right now, his career ambitions don’t involve politics.
“I’m interested in the STEM field,” he said, “and would like to be part of the computer science community.”