Alumnus for Maryland delegate

Lincoln Aftergood, Opinion Editor

Alumnus Joe Vogel (‘15) wants to make a change in Montgomery County. He has already formed multiple nonprofit organizations, worked under Hillary Clinton and Cory Booker and served in the Maryland Youth Advisory Council. Now, he plans to continue making progress by running for state delegate of District 17.

Vogel has been an active member of his local community since early in his middle school years at CESJDS. He traces his political aspirations back to his time in the Jewish youth group B’nai B’rith Youth Organization [BBYO].

“I actually got involved in politics and public service in high school,” Vogel said. “I was involved in BBYO, and one of the staff members that worked for the youth group decided that she was going to run for the state senate. I had a slight interest in politics at the time, so I reached out to her and said, ‘Hey, I’ll help you with whatever you need.’”

Vogel also served on the Maryland Youth Advisory Council under Governor Larry Hogan and joined Secretary Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Later, he helped coordinate events affiliated with the March for Our Lives movement, and joined Senator Cory Booker’s political team in 2018.

Currently, Vogel is finishing a master’s degree at Harvard’s Kennedy School. In the past few years, he has also helped build nonprofit organizations, including Learn it Together, an organization that provides free tutoring, and Accountable Tech, an organization demanding advocacy from big companies.

Vogel believes that his time at JDS was crucial in shaping his personality and enabling him to make all the changes in his community that he has made so far. 

“I think what’s so important when it comes to the work of JDS is how it shapes your values,” Vogel said. “I often think about how the values I learned at JDS instruct what I believe. There’s perhaps, in my book, no greater value than tikkun olam, and this was really instilled in me at my time at JDS. We have this responsibility as individuals to contribute to the betterment of the world.”

Director of Lower School Admissions Dorie Ravick (‘01) taught Vogel in high school and connected with him quickly.

“He’s always been super personable and cares a lot about the people around him and is really trying to make everywhere better,” Ravick said. “It’s not surprising to me that he’s running for office.”

Ravick currently lives in Maryland’s District 17 and plans on voting for Vogel for state delegate.

“I know that he cares about the people in the district, and he’ll make a difference,” Ravick said. “He brings even in his young age an amazing perspective based on his background and his life experiences.”

Vogel’s campaign runs on three pillars: increasing economic opportunity in Maryland, combating climate change and fighting for more efficient government. He plans to combine these goals by using climate change measures to increase job opportunities for workers in Montgomery County.

“We have [an] economic slowdown,” Vogel said. “We’re not creating the jobs, the businesses or the revenue that we need. It’s becoming very difficult for young people to afford to live in Montgomery County right now. It’s really expensive. Something needs to change.”

Vogel believes that Maryland is facing a pivotal moment in its history. With his grassroots campaign, he plans to fight for change that is visible and tangible for everyday people in Montgomery County and beyond.

“The challenges that are being determined right now are going to have consequences and impact. Not just for our generation, but for generations thereafter,” Vogel said. “So I really think that we need to speak up, that we need to get involved, that we need to get engaged and that we need to get elected.”