Webb students canvass for Rep. Katie Porter in Orange County


Allison Madar

On October 16th, a group of Webb students traveled to North Irvine for a second time to canvass for Rep. Katie Porter’s reelection campaign. Before going door-to-door, the campaign hosted a series of Porter-endorsed speakers that also appear on the upcoming ballot for municipal positions in California’s 47th district. Near the end of the speeches, Porter gave a speech of her own and greeted Webbies volunteering for the campaign. “It kind of shocked me to see how ‘normal’ [Porter] was,” Theresa Hu (‘24) said. “She wasn’t extremely formal or anything. I think that definitely aligns with her values as a congresswoman.”

Knock, knock! Who’s there? Webb students! Unable to vote, Webb students went door-to-door hoping to make their mark on American democracy. By volunteering to canvass for congressional candidates, students can influence the future of their nation without even casting a vote themselves. 

On September 24th and October 16th, groups of Webb students canvassed in North Irvine for Representative Katie Porter (CA-47)’s reelection campaign. These trips, primarily organized by Mirabel Raphael (‘24) and Yvette Shu (‘23) as a part of Webb’s new Beyond the Bubble club, have provided students with a unique opportunity to get involved in the American democratic process. 

Every two years, any member of the House of Representatives has to run for reelection because their term is only two years long,” said Jessica Fisher, co-chair of the humanities department and an advisor of the trip. “Even though there’s no presidential election in 2022 because Joe Biden has two more years to serve as his term of office, there is a really important election that’s about to happen that will decide which party controls the House and the Senate.” 

As the 2022 midterm elections rapidly approach, campaigns like Porter’s are looking to secure their communities’ votes for election day on November 8th. This election cycle bears the weight of several critical issues in our nation like abortion access, climate change, school funding, infrastructure, college debt relief, and many more.  

“The Supreme Court, having just overturned the Roe v. Wade decision, has created the possibility for any state to deprive women the right to decide their reproduction and control over their bodies,” Ms. Fisher said. “So depending on which party controls Congress, it will affect whether we have those reproductive controls going forward.” 

Porter is the incumbent Democrat in a heated race for California’s 47th congressional district, a “battleground district” due to Irvine’s rapid growing population and uncertainty caused by redistricting. As a representative in Orange County, one of state’s most historically conservative areas, she has faced a stark uphill climb to her current position, and will continue to battle every two years to remain in her seat. 

“Recently, with redistricting, Katie Porter is running in a district where she has not previously represented a lot of the people there, so they don’t all know about her,” Mirabel said. “I think it’s important that we can get out there and make sure that all the voters know who she is, know what she stands for, and — even if we can’t convince everybody — at least give them a little bit of information and make sure they’re aware of what’s happening.” 

Organizers from Porter’s campaign trained Webb students in common canvassing etiquette and safety before going door-to-door in North Irvine. Volunteers were told to “Knock loud, be proud!” and that “Dropping lit, ain’t it!” while canvassing. While campaigning for Porter in these neighborhoods, students also handed out flyers for Porter and other Porter-endorsed candidates in elections for their local municipal governments.  

Even if only a few of the doorbells rung led to an Irvine resident verbalizing their support for Porter to canvassers, their assurance was still progress toward the ultimate goal of getting out the vote. Along with contributing to the success of the campaign, these canvassing trips also offered Webb students experience volunteering in grassroots organizations that they could use in any of their future political endeavors. 

“The younger that people are when they get involved, whether it’s through canvassing, phone calls, going to vote themselves when they turn 18, making posters, or joining a march, the more they see themselves as an active, engaged member of a democracy,” Ms. Fisher said. “That will create a more engaged citizenry, because, if you were involved when you were sixteen, you’re probably still going to be involved when you’re thirty-six and sixty-six. Apathy is the greatest danger to our democracy. People don’t see themselves as part of the system and part of history, but rather as receivers of that history.” 

Following a long day of doorbell-ringing and flyer-stuffing, students returned to Webb not only with a sorer pair of legs, but with a new sense of empowerment. Through canvassing, students who are unable to vote, whether it be due to age or nationality, can still contribute to issues they care about and make an impact in their community.  

“Canvassing for Katie Porter on Oct. 16th and Sep. 24th was a whole new experience for me; the fact that I could speak to people face-to-face to spread the information that will benefit the future generation, including mine, made me feel empowered,” said Naomi Kang (‘24), an international student. “Every door I knocked on and every person I met seemed like an opportunity to make our society better. 

If you would like to use your voice to make a difference, be sure to attend the Beyond the Bubble Club’s final canvassing trip on November 6th for Porter’s Get Out the Vote Weekend event. Get Out the Vote Weekend marks the final weekend to canvass before Election Day on November 8th.  

“Highschoolers aren’t able to vote in most cases, but they are participants in our democracy,” said Rep. Porter to volunteers from Webb. “I represent every single person — whether they’re old enough to vote or not — and canvassing is one way that you can influence the outcome of elections. You can talk to people about our country’s future, about what our environment is going to look like, about the world you want to live in, and help them vote for candidates who are going to deliver those policies for you.”