Each year, high school students from all over California join Youth and Government in hopes of breaking new boundaries, making new friends, and overall having a new experience.
For many, going into this 3000 plus student program is overwhelming, and some choose to stay out of the spotlight; for Ethan Harris, this was simply not the case.
After being pestered by a friend to join Youth and Government throughout middle school, Harris finally jumped into the program.
“I didn’t do it in middle school and I promised him I would, so I joined freshman year and I fell in love,” Harris said.
Harris has been in Y&G legislature since he joined, which sparked his interest in his eventual running for Lieutenant Governor.
“I thought that this would be a good way to give back to the program,” Harris said.
Harris began his journey to Lieutenant Governor earlier this year, campaigning before and at T&E I. There, he was elected presiding officer of the Senate, along with two other delegates. Harris enjoyed the campaign journey, but also said he wishes he had more support from his delegation. With a Youth Governor candidate, the spotlight was often taken off of him.
“At T&E I, there was more support, T&E II, because of Jeremy Becker, there weren’t as many opportunities for members of my delegation to carry signs around, and stuff like that,” Harris said.
Although he may not have gotten the support he wanted, Harris took matters into his own hands. He made buttons and pins, and campaigned on Becker’s behalf.
“Because I could actually reach out to everyone in the program, I felt like I could have a real ‘grassroots me to talking to everyone’ thing,” Harris said.
At T&E 2, the winner of the Lieutenant Governor election was finally announced, and Harris had won. Harris’s hard work paid off, and he was happy to celebrate with his friends and fellow delegates.
“Knowing that I’d be able to work with my opponents regardless was great, because I think Natalie and Simone are really great people, and so are Eric, Jackson, and Grace,” he said. As the 69th Lt. Gov., Harris is responsible for presiding over his Senate, along with running the bill process.
At last year’s SAC conference, Grace Rector and him began planning their coinciding campaigns together. Now, one year later, Rector serves as the current 69th Speaker of the Assembly, alongside Harris as 69th Lieutenant Governor.
“Grace and I have been plotting this situation since Sac last year, so to see it actually happen is amazing,” Harris said.
Now that SAC is here, Harris is enjoying his time as Lt. Gov. Although he doesn’t have much time for food, sleep, or most things, Harris is enjoying his experience here at Sac. Besides performing his duties, Harris’s favorite part is watching his best friend, 69th Youth Governor Ariana Trujillo, speak in front of thousands.
“I’ve always had the vision of me sitting behind her on the joint session stage and watching her speak from the back, and so when that happened it made me really really happy.” From debating and discussing bills, to campaigning with his friends, Ethan Harris will always remember his time as Lieutenant Governor, and his time in Youth and Government.