In the 2012 College Campaign Debate, College Republican member Khayree Fitten, freshman in political science, provided the majority of Republican arguments and rebuttals. Fitten is determined to make the most of his adventure at Iowa State by becoming involved with a wide variety of political activities on and off campus.
“'Imperturbable,' I think, is probably a pretty good word to describe [Fitten],” said Ryan Peterson, senior in political science.
Fitten cites his aunt, LaSharon Duckett, as his biggest influence for his political interest.
In 2006, during midterm elections, when Fitten was in seventh grade, Duckett asked him to march in a Henry County parade for the Republican Party in support of Jim Nussle’s run to become the governor of Iowa.
“At that time, I was obviously pretty naïve to the entire political spectrum, but I just knew I wanted to get involved [in politics] from that point on,” Fitten said.
Fitten serves as a chairman for the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council, which provides a means of communication between politically active youth and the governor, general assembly, and state and local policymakers. The council talks to the various government bodies about programs, policies and practices which affect youth and families.
“I think politics generally play a big role in everything that we do even if it's at the local level; your city councilman making the decision to keep bikes on the sidewalk or on the street plays a heavy role into how you conduct your life,” Fitten said.
Fitten organized activities as a volunteer for the McCain-Palin campaign during the 2008 election and interned for Iowa Victory, a Republican campaign office, in 2010.
Fitten encourages those that hate politics to consider the meaning of political involvement as a fight for the issues.
“Hating politics isn’t necessarily about the process itself as it is about the people, and I think that’s not remembered as often as it should be," Fitten said. "People need to look at the actual impact and think to themselves daily, ‘How is what I do affected by the decisions of others?’”
Fitten’s quick detailed rebuttals in the student debate helped seal the College Republican’s victory, which was nearly tied in scores from the panel of judges.
“In terms of character, he’s a witty kid," Peterson said. "He’s quick on his feet, and he’s quick with the comebacks."
Peterson and Fitten are both members of the Government of the Student Body. Fitten serves as an Inter-Residence Hall Association Senator.
While he chose to vote early, receiving an absentee ballot from his hometown in Mount Pleasant, Fitten wants to make sure everyone is well informed about the candidates before casting their vote.
“You have to do personal research, and I think that’s a [voting] issue we face in modern politics. People don’t feel that their vote counts, and so people don’t take as much responsibility as they should when they’re casting their ballots,” Fitten said. “Your vote does matter, and with Iowa being a swing state, it could matter at a very exponentially and vast rate compared to other states.”
Being so active in politics at such a young age has prompted many to ask if Fitten if he plans to run for a political office position in the future.
“I don’t think there’s been a single interview since I’ve become involved in politics in which I wasn’t asked that question," Fitten said. "We’ll see what happens. You never know.”