As Americans waited and watched to see which party would gain control of the U.S. Senate and thus determine which political party would dominate the U.S. government, one RHS senior, Laurence Fine, decided to step up and take action. During his winter break, Fine set out to Georgia to make a difference.
This kind of action was nothing new to him as Fine currently serves as a co-leader of the RHS Democrats, a club dedicated to campaigning and canvassing for Democratic candidates in national elections and local ones. Zoe Kovac, an RHS junior and leader of the club speaks to his leadership: “Fine’s leadership over the years has truly made the RHS Democrats feel like a community. He really cares about our activism and I love working alongside him.”
Moreover, Fine has led the club through an assortment of campaigns and elections, leading the club confidently and decisively. “He is a go-getter who has the spontaneity, resilience, knowledge, and connections needed to get things done,” said Aaron Friedman, an RHS senior who is friends with Fine and is an active leader of the RHS Democrats.
Fine uses these qualities to fulfill his political ambitions and beliefs, attending protests, rallies, fundraisers, speeches and campaign events. He has built up a vast network of connections and an incredible base of friends, colleagues and acquaintances.
The RHS representative to the Ridgewood Board of Education as a junior, Fine attended every board of education meeting and reported to the board on behalf of RHS.
As soon as Fine realized the tremendous significance of the outcome of the Georgia senate race and the start of winter break came closer, Fine leaped at the opportunity. “I knew at that moment I had to go down to Georgia. I did everything I could to find a way to get there and figure out what I can do down there once I knew all that was at stake,” he said to the High Times.
Fine’s time in Georgia was unforgiving. He told the High Times: “I was working eight hour days, sometimes I was working nine hours…. It’s just hard physically, it’s hard mentally, especially doing the same thing every single day for around two weeks.” Fine stepped out of his comfort zone to do the things he loved and work for his goals. He advises students and other high schoolers who wish to follow their dreams to do exactly that, never give up and be committed.
When asked why he spent his precious winter break in Georgia, he said: “I want to be involved in helping people, I think that’s something that’s very important, and there are definitely so many problems in our country and I want to do work regarding [those issues].”
Empathy and compassion spurred Fine, motivating him to travel to such a new environment and wake up every morning knowing the next day would bring more of the same.
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Why did you go to Georgia?
As soon as Fine found out the results of the Georgia Election would determine whether the Republicans would hold the majority in the Senate, Fine drove down to Georgia in an effort to turn the votes in favor of the two Democratic candidates, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, and give the Democrats the Senate majority.
“As soon as I saw that the election of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock would determine control of the senate, I knew in that moment I had to go down to Georgia. I did everything I could to find a way to get there and figure out what I can do down there and once I knew all that was at stake I had to go down there because the stakes are just so high and we need to get to a place where government can pass laws, where we have a government that works, that passes laws, that actually helps real people.
“To make sure what happened at the Capitol does not happen again, and so we can get to the point where democracy works, and that starts with Georgia.”
Do you think this is the segue into a politically active career or is it a one-time thing?
“I want to be involved in helping people, I think that’s something that’s very important, and there are definitely so many problems in our country and I want to do work regarding [those issues]. I don’t know what that means specifically, but I’m just going to take things one step at a time and see where that gets me. Regardless, I want to spend my life and my career to just help people, because there’s just so many problems and so much work that needs to be done.”
I want to spend my life and my career to just help people, because there’s just so many problems and so much work that needs to be done.
Why did you do this, what motivated you to step out of your comfort zone?
“It was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone, going to Georgia, going into a completely new environment and I remember the first day driving to work on my own I was completely by myself, I had no idea where I was going or who these people were that I was supposed to be meeting. I almost had the wrong address. It was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone.
“But what definitely kept me motivated throughout all of that is that we need to create change. Some days at work were better than others, and sometimes people were more friendly with me, other times not so much. A lot of times, people weren’t even home, and I started to doubt myself; how much of a change was I actually making?
“I was working eight hour days, sometimes I was working nine hours. I was just working extremely long periods of time, not taking that many breaks. Its just hard physically, its hard mentally, especially doing the same thing every single day for around two weeks.
“It was just hard to motivate myself and tell myself ‘hey, this is what will bring control to the people, and where we can actually pass laws,’ and that is the silver lining of all of it, and what motivated me to get up every day.”
What would you suggest to high schoolers and students who want to get politically involved as well?
“The most important thing is commitment, and to get involved, but also understand why you’re getting involved and how can [you] achieve [your] goal.”
RHS Democrats Leaders’ Quotes:
“Laurence is easily one of the most dedicated people I know. He pursues causes that are important to him with enthusiasm and strives to really make a difference, whether it’s a local issue or a national crisis. He is committed to doing all the hard work necessary to enact change and will invest himself fully in what he’s passionate about. Working with him in the RHS Democrats has been an amazing experience as he brings very practical yet creative ideas to the table. Knocking on doors in Pennsylvania two days before the 2020 Election would just be a pipe dream for our club if it wasn’t for Fine’s insistence and coordination. He continues to inspire me to be a better person and I am honored to work alongside him in the RHS Dems.”
– Jake Rubenstein, RHS Democrats Co-leader
“Laurence never ceases to amaze and inspire me. Becoming friends with him freshman year, I did not expect that when we weren’t just hanging out we’d be organizing politically and going to events and forging a path for RHS students to become involved. Seeing Fine as a high schooler be chosen for and take these amazing opportunities like working on the Gottheimer campaign, paging for Senator Schumer, being appointed a member of the national students demand action board, and forging a nexus of political action within the Ridgewood community, is incredibly inspiring and his passion is blinding and beautiful on the regular. But he’s so much more than his resume. Laurence is a true leader who cares about the people and cares about the cause, he’s compassionate, he’s fun to work with and be around, and he’ll always be backing you up no matter what. So happy to be friends with him and looking forward to seeing what the future holds.”
– Logan Richman, RHS Democrats Co-leader
Photo: Laurence Fine