You Should Know … Karson Kamenetz

Karson Kamenetz
Karson Kamenetz (Courtesy of Karson Kamenetz)

Karson Kamenetz, 22, is proving that young people can make a difference.

In 2022, Kamenetz ran for and won a seat on the Baltimore County Democratic State Central Committee, which serves as the Democratic Party’s local leadership in Baltimore County. Kamenetz is the son of Kevin Kamenetz, who served as Baltimore County executive from 2010-2018, until he suddenly died while in office. His public service inspired his son to pursue a similar path.

After growing up in Baltimore and attending Gilman School, Karson Kamenetz continued his education at the University of Maryland, College Park. In May of this year, Kamenetz will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in government and politics. Next fall, Kamenetz will attend the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

Kamenetz currently lives in Pikesville and belongs to Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

How was running for election?

I was on the ballot in my legislative district, District 11. I was fortunate enough to receive nearly 4,000 votes from people in my community. People that I’ve talked to, shaken hands with and gotten to know. [With their votes,] they said we want you to represent us and voice our concerns to the Baltimore County Democratic Party. I’ve been having a great time doing that and learning a lot as well. The term runs through 2026.

How did you do that so young?

My father, Kevin Kamenetz, was the Baltimore County executive; unfortunately, he passed away too soon. His passion was public service. He dedicated his life to it. I am fortunate to have the privilege of a father who was a politician. But, at the same time, that privilege comes with responsibility. It comes with people telling you that you have big shoes to fill. Seeing the commitment that my father had for the county combined with the aspect of big shoes, I would be silly to not enter politics. I’d be silly not to continue on, not necessarily my father’s legacy or continue his job, but take advantage of the path that he has laid out for me.

What made you decide to do it now versus wait until after school?

There’s a political reality that we all face, and nobody thinks the current situation is good and should remain as is. Hundreds of thousands of other young folks were just for the first time, first presidential election, able to vote against Donald Trump. I took that energy and try to use these young people to do good. That’s what we’re trying to do on the central committee. If not now, then when?

Why did you decide to go to law school?

I think having a legal education is powerful. I think understanding the law is empowering. Not just in the sense of being able to understand tax code and take a few $1,000 extra at the end of the year after Tax Day, but it’s also about knowing the difference between being detained or arrested and knowing how to deal with each situation respectively. Understanding how the law works is akin, in my opinion, to understanding our country from where it began to where it is now and how they best operate within it. So, that’s why being a lawyer and pursuing a legal education was an obvious path for me, and I’m excited to do it.

Outside of politics, what are some things you do for fun?

I’m a movie snob. I’m a Netflix junkie. All that stuff that people are afraid to admit in job interviews, that is me. I spend too much time unwinding at the end of the day, watching TV shows and staying up too late.

What does it mean to you to serve Baltimore?

To me, service is almost a given, but in a different way that might seem cliche. My father obviously dedicated his life to public service. But the idea of service wasn’t necessarily passed down genetically. I originally wanted to do computer science and cybersecurity. In fact, I enrolled at the University of Maryland as a cybersecurity student.

How do you feel about the Baltimore Jewish community?

The biggest part about Judaism and what makes Judaism significant to me is that regardless of how Orthodox you are and how often you pray, none of that is as significant as being a part of the Jewish community around you. It’s no matter which denomination you are or where you are in the world, you are part of a Jewish community. I’m fortunate enough to be a part of the Baltimore Jewish community. It’s a requirement to give back to those around you. It’s a requirement to serve others, and it’s a requirement to leave the world better than when you were born into it. It’s that simple.

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