Congressman Tom Malinowski addresses WHS about Ukraine conflict


Photo by Ryan J. Karlin

Congressman Tom Malinowski speaking at WHS on May 23

On May 23, Congressman Tom Malinowski came to WHS to speak to students about the war in Ukraine. The event, which lasted for over an hour, consisted of a speech from the congressman and questions from the student body. 

Malinowski serves as the Vice Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and has worked in the State Department, as well as on the White House National Security Council. The congressman was born in communist Poland, emphasizing that when he was a kid, a politician could have never spoken openly to a group of constituents as he was doing at the meeting.

When he first began speaking about the war in Ukraine, he stated that the conflict had been “smoldering” since 2014, but has recently intensified. Malinowski noted that he and other congressmen traveled to the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, in January to try to warn Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of a potential invasion from Russia in the near future. “Our main mission was to persuade Zelensky that further invasion was likely to happen. Unfortunately, at the time, it was too crazy to imagine for [Zelensky],” said Malinowski.

When a student inquired about the U.S. accepting Ukrainian refugees, the congressman was clear. “If we end up taking millions of people, that will mean we will have failed,” said Malinowski. 

Malinowski continued to explain exactly what the U.S. has done to help in the fight against Russia, addressing the calls for a no-fly zone. The congressman explained that a no-fly zone would mean putting American troops on the ground in Ukraine, something he opposed. Malinowski said, “I think the Ukrainians can win without that type of American involvement.”

Although he was clear that there are limits to American involvement in the war in Ukraine, his overall goal for the war was explicit. “I’m here to ensure Putin pays a horrible, horrible price for what he’s done to the people of Ukraine,” said Malinowski.

Principal Mary Asfendis was in attendance, alongside many teachers from various departments. While talking with Hi’s Eye, Asfendis expressed that she was pleased with the work the school had done in support of Ukraine. She made it clear that while the original response to the Ukraine conflict was encouraging, it is important to continue to support the cause at WHS in the future.

Malinowski, who is running for reelection in the midterm elections, has done a number of similar events in the past. He said, “I don’t think I have a more important responsibility than hearing from the next generation of voters who I’ll be representing.”

The congressman established a focus on creating a strong bond with younger generations, specifically high school students, as they will soon have the responsibility of voting for the first time. Malinowski explained that voting is the only way for students to ensure their voice is being heard by their representatives.

When faced with concerns over the fate of the United States, the congressman had a simple message, “If we vote like the Ukrainians fight, we’re going to be okay.”