Sunday, September 5, 2004

Student eyes politics


At 15, she's already thinking about presidency

By Karen Gutierrez
Enquirer staff writer

TAYLOR MILL - Katlin Rust is 15, wears braces and still rides the bus home from school.

But already there is something presidential about her.

Last year, she was the first freshman in Scott High School's history to not only enroll in honors anatomy but also earn an A.

She spent part of this summer at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. She carries a business card identifying herself as a "junior statesman." And in the last five years at school, she has run for office seven times, winning three of the races.

Katlin, who hopes to be president someday, is starting a club this year to get Scott students involved in politics.

To her, politics remains a noble calling.

"A lot of (elected officials) are actually really good people," she says. "To think, we have these people willing to stand up and make decisions for all of us."

This year's presidential race has made her only more excited about joining the fray.

She enjoys a good argument over ideas. Even fund-raising dinners, the bane of many a politician, appeal to her as a way to "get people involved."

"She'd be a good candidate," Scott sophomore Andrew Myattsaid. He's a Republican and she's a Democrat, so they don't agree on much, but Katlin has style and presence, Andrew says.

Another friend, senior Eric Muench, remembers well his first encounter with the young politician. It was at a football game.

"I barely even knew her, but she shook my hand, gave me a hug and asked how my parents were," Eric says.

This summer, she attended the convention through a national program called the Junior State of America.

She raised money for the trip in part by making the rounds of politically oriented clubs in Northern Kentucky.

On one of those nights, she got a taste of the fortitude required of candidates.

Her grandfather, Larry Strassburger, died on the day of a Kenton County Democratic Club meeting. The two had been very close.

"I almost didn't go, but I knew he would have wanted me to," said Katlin, whose mother is a nurse and father a general contractor. "He was very into politics and the state of our world."

So she went to the meeting, intending to drop off a letter and leave.

But club members asked her to say something. She pulled off a short speech, and four of them gave her money.

E-mail kgutierrez@enquirer.com




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