Justin Wittekind, Governor
Justin Wittekind is a senior at Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Orange County, California. After attending Fall State Los Angeles his freshman year, he was forever captivated by the ability of his peers to effectively engage in high‐level political discourse. He was further inspired by how his fellow students were able to form friendships with others of vastly different backgrounds. He felt like he had found where he belonged, and that place was in the Southern California Junior State. After attending a few conventions and several one‐day conferences, Justin decided to apply for cabinet, and eventually he worked his way up and was elected Southern Empire Region Mayor, which would change his course in the organization entirely. As Governor, it is his mission to foster his passion for civic engagement and to make the Southern California Junior State greater and more united than ever before. Justin has had the privilege of attending nine overnight conventions and more than eighteen One‐Day events. In each, he has found a unique experience that has contributed to his overall passion and appreciation for the organization. He is a proud attendee of both the 2015 Montezuma Leadership Summit and the 2016 Georgetown Summer School. Within his time in this organization, Justin has found a vigor which he is determined to carry with him during his term as Governor. Beyond JSA, Justin is an avid reader and an amateur classicist. His appreciation for history and Greco‐Roman culture has been, and continues to be helpful to him in roles of governance. He participates in student government, contributes to his school’s Model United Nations Program, volunteers at his local library, and is a member of Santa Margarita’s Chapter of the National Honor Society. He loves bodysurfing, running, and listening to music, but it seems like JSA never truly leaves his mind. Above all, he wants to ensure the continued success and growth of the Southern California Junior State.
Morgan Pak, Lieutenant Governor
Morgan Pak is a senior at Diamond Bar High School. She was first introduced to JSA in 8th grade by her older sister; although she somewhat begrudgingly came to the Tri‐Regional One Day, that Saturday morning would become the foundation of a true paradigm shift. JSA has introduced her to ideas and people, allowing her to become aware, active, and above all, passionate. Morgan has had the immense privilege of serving JSA as Chapter Coordinator and Angeles Region Senator. She is beyond grateful and enthused to enter her third year in the Senate and last year in JSA as Lieutenant Governor.
Samantha Paul, Speaker of the Assembly
Samantha Paul is a senior at Adolfo Camarillo High School. Soon after being convinced to attend a JSA meeting hosted by her school’s chapter, Sam knew that she wanted to be involved with the Junior State in a much more significant way. Throughout her tenure as a Junior Stateswoman, Sam has attended countless One Days, eight weekend conventions, one Montezuma Leadership Summit, one summer school session at Georgetown University, and one institute on Media and Politics at UCLA. Along the way, Sam was able to discover the incredibly diverse values of those around her, which in turn resulted in a greater appreciation for surrounding political arena. Although JSA is an especially impressive aspect of her life, Sam does find the time to enjoy the things that any normal teenager might enjoy: long walks on the beach, sunsets, the warm fuzziness felt from a good book, and of course, intense discussion on bird migration.
Lulea Debretsion, Chief of Staff
Lulu Debretsion is a senior at John Burroughs High School where she serves as the current Chapter President, and has been involved in the Junior State since the end of her freshman year. While she was initially skeptical of joining a debate‐oriented organization, she has since learned to not only embrace public speaking and political discourse but to also unapologetically rant about anything related to politics that bothers her in the slightest.
As a summer graduate of the Gene Burd UCLA Institute, the Montezuma Leadership Summit, and the Georgetown University Summer School Program, Lulu has become fully immersed by the welcoming and nurturing community of statespeople that the Junior State has introduced her to. In her leisure time, she enjoys doing pretentious things typical of most Los Angeles teenagers, such as patronizing overpriced yet aesthetically pleasing cafes, visiting contemporary art museums, and listening to edgy indie rock.
Lulu is incredibly thrilled to witness all the great achievements the Southern California state accomplishes within this upcoming year, and is honored to be able to work alongside such a talented group of statespeople as this year’s Southern California Chief of Staff.
Yvonne England, Program Director
Yvonne England joined The Junior Statesmen Foundation in 2016 and the Southern California Program Director. Before joining JSA she worked with President Obama’s reelection campaign as a Staging Location Director for the Riverside office. She also worked for three years in the non-profit world in fundraising, community development, and youth engagement.
Yvonne received her Masters Degree from California State University, Fullerton in American Studies and wrote her thesis, titled A Punk Practice: The Development of Punk Political Activism from 1979 – 2004, on the rise of youth political activism in the punk rock scene. She also has two BAs from the University of California, Riverside in History and English.
Yvonne grew up in the Southern California area as a punk rock kid going to punk rock shows. She has two awesome cats, a dog, and a loving partner who is kinda famous on the internet.