UC Berkeley freshman Kailen Grottel-Brown is running independently for ASUC Senate based on his passion for public service and experience in ASUC and government offices and campaigns.
Grottel-Brown’s plans center on financial literacy, mental health, housing, academic and professional development, and technology and innovation as well as aiding the pre-business, pre-law, out-of-state and international student communities.
In high school, Grottel-Brown was on the Los Angeles Mayor’s youth council, where he worked on campaigns tackling houselessness, mental health and educational equity and grew a passion for public policy.
“I took those experiences (working on the youth council), and I became really interested in how I could kind of help this new community that I started to be part of in Berkeley,” Grottel-Brown said. “The ASUC was one way I found myself being able to do that.”
This academic year, Grottel-Brown has worked for Senator Adriana Ngo’s and Senator Stephanie Wong’s offices, as well as the Executive Vice President’s and the External Affairs Vice President’s offices. He is also working in the Los Angeles Mayor’s office and Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett’s office as a legislative aide.
Financial literacy is an issue that Grottel-Brown said he especially wants to tackle if elected. This year, Grottel-Brown assembled the financial literacy task force, which includes Senators Adriana Ngo, Ashley Rehal, Sammy Raucher and ASUC President Chaka Tellem.
The task force aims to further financial literacy on campus, work with students, faculty and administration and create a class that will help educate students. If elected, Grottel-Brown hopes to see through the creation and implementation of the class.
To ease the struggles around finding housing, Grottel-Brown wants to create a centralized platform for students to search for housing on and off campus.
“It’s really challenging to go and look and have your own search for apartments, houses, any kind of reasonable place to live around Berkeley,” Grottel-Brown said.
For the pre-business and pre-law communities, Grottel-Brown plans to focus on professional development by providing access to some graduate-level courses as well as helping students forge connections with companies and organizations they can work with in the future.
While Grottel-Brown noted he is not part of the out-of-state or international communities, he said he still hopes to support them by identifying courses that out-of-state and international students have taken and ensuring their credits are able to transfer to UC Berkeley.
“We’re able to take some issues that we’re all facing, or take some misunderstandings or challenges or eager inquiries for future knowledge and make it a thing we’re excited by and something that we hope to come to Berkeley with as a unified front,” Grottel-Brown said.