When someone thinks about teenagers, the first thing that comes to mind is high school or social media. But political association?
Believe it or not, more teens are getting involved in politics, becoming more politically versed, and establishing their political viewpoints. They’re not only becoming better citizens, but better leaders.
Raised by two Republican parents, senior Jessica Nguyen has always been involved in politics.
“I’ve grown up around a [political] atmosphere,” Nguyen said. “[My parents] always talk about how it’s tough being a middle-class citizen and how it’s important to try to state your voice, especially in politics, because it’s often overlooked.”
Being in AP Government, Nguyen was required to volunteer at a politician’s office.
She was given the chance to help run an event for Gerald M. “Jerry” McNerney, one of the district congressmen for California. She attended a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) conference aimed toward getting more females involved in the aforementioned fields.
“It was interesting to see how political figures try to bring the people together through events like the one I went to,” Nguyen said. “It’s also interesting to see the underlying meaning, where they’re trying to get the people to support them.”
Nguyen believes her views fall somewhere between the Democratic and Republican parties but leans toward the Republican side on topics such as welfare and the death penalty.
“I feel like many times the middle-class isn’t represented well in the game of politics [by the Democrats],” Nguyen said.
Class president four years in a row and selected to represent Bear Creek as the Girls State Delegate for this year’s American Legion Auxiliary Girls State program, junior Isabelle Rodriguez is a prominent leader. She hopes to work in the law field when she’s older.
“In the future, I know I’m supposed to be a leader,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t know what kind yet.”
Although a passionate leader, Rodriguez admits she isn’t very politically versed.
“I’m so happy I got the opportunity to be a California Girls State Delegate because, even though I have this passion for leadership, I do recognize I’m not very [politically] educated,” Rodriguez said. “It’s important to me to go this summer to learn about [political] issues.”
Rodriguez says that she is interested in the political realm and hopes to learn more about it.
“Governing a body of people is so fascinating to me,” Rodriguez said. “Taking APUSH this year, I’ve been able to see different types of leadership, and learn about all these different kinds of political leaders, and you kind of take [something] away from that.”
From following political Facebook groups to subscribing to political Youtube channels, junior Jacob Williams is almost always up-to-date about political news.
Williams has always had an interest in politics and says that young people should be actively involved in politics.
He is a mixture of a liberal and conservative.
“Personally, I’m capitalist,” Williams said. “The one area I disagree with the more radical capitalists, the Libertarians, is that they want free market laissez-faire capitalism. It’s complete irresponsibility to want a laissez-faire, capitalist economy. It’s like they’re completely unaware that the robber baron era of history ever happened. When you don’t have any government regulation, you risk a plutocracy developing, where, like we have today, all these corporate money interests are so involved in politics you don’t know what’s what.”
Williams holds strong political and religious beliefs. He is adamant about free speech and free religion.
“There are two things I tell people I’m not shy about: my politics and my religious beliefs,” Williams said. “When you threaten equality, liberty, and justice for all, you make an enemy of me.”
Bear Creek alumnus Sol Jobrack, who graduated in 2000, is hoping to be represent Stockton as one of California’s State Assembly members.
Growing up in Stockton, Jobrack has developed a relationship with the community and is running for District 13 State Assembly member in hopes of improving the local community.
“I was raised in Stockton,” Jobrack said. “I’ve kind of seen it go from being great to being mediocre. I have a family that started here in the community, I went to high school here, I went to Delta College here, and I went away for my university education while staying in this community. I just really wanted to get involved knowing that I’m connected to the community and feeling I have a good understanding of what it needs. I want to pursue a long-term connectedness with our local community.”
His senior project, which revolved around his interest in becoming a district attorney, sparked his interest in politics. For his fieldwork, he worked at the San Joaquin County courthouse.
“I always wanted to be civically involved and kinda just went through the years and finally found what my passion was and that was the political spectrum,” Jobrack said.
Jobrack is a moderate Republican.
“I’m really conservative when it comes to financial and fiscal responsibility but, growing up in a diverse community like Stockton, for social issues, I tend to be a little more moderate,” Jobrack said. “My real focus is making sure we are sustainable for my kids’ generation and my [grand]kid’s generation.”
He plans to pursue politics at the local and state level.
“I really like local and state level,” Jobrack said. “I never have intention of leaving Stockton so I’ll be more than happy staying at the local and state level for the rest of my life.”
As state member, one of the issues he hopes to address is unemployment.
“I think we have a really high unemployment rate in San Joaquin County, especially in Stockton, and I feel like we don’t do enough to reach out as a state to make our business environment more inclusive,” Jobrack said. “I think that we can have policies at a state level that are inviting to businesses. I’m really trying to get into Sacramento and work on policies that can bring business up in the Stockton community and the state.”