Op-Ed by Andrew Lee ’07 Published in SF Chronicle

This past Sunday, Claremont McKenna sophomore Andrew Lee published an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle. The article, titled Social Security Reform: Red, Blue and Rainbow, analyzed potential benefits to same-sex partners under Social Security privatization.

Lee, a student in CMC’s Washington Program, says his inspiration was a D.C. conference he attended on Social Security payouts, where an audience member described the previous action of the Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay activist organization, in endorsing Social Security privatization.

“I wanted to bring this issue to light,” says Lee, who feels the topic has received little national-level media and political interest. “I thought it was an interesting topic. As I say in my opinion piece, This dialog should come out of the closet.'”

Lee asserts that although the Republican platform has not traditionally supported gay rights, aspects of the GOP agenda could be advantageous for the gay community: If Social Security were privatized, he says, the federal government could not regulate the beneficiaries of private accounts. “Same-sex partners, like any other beneficiary,” Lee writes, “could receive survivor benefits or dependent benefits.”

CMC professor of government John J. Pitney Jr. says Lee’s op-ed is typical of the rigor with which Claremont McKenna College students pursue their political interests. “If you want to see the future of American politics, watch CMC students,” Pitney says. “Andrew Lee is a great example. He shines with intelligence and initiative.”

Ken Weinstein, who teaches CMC students enrolled in the Washington Program and assigned Lee and his classmates the task of writing opinion pieces, was impressed by the key placement of Red, Blue and Rainbow in the Chronicle’s Sunday edition. “When I first thought of having students write op-eds for Government 127,” Weinstein says, “it never occurred to me that a major newspaper would actually publish one of these pieces. But I’ve learned first-hand that CMC students, like Andrew Lee, are insightful, creative and hard-working.”

For Lee’s full op-ed text: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2005/03/13/EDGSMAPCC21.DTL, or http://sfgate.com/.