Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Reader Submission:History Shows Power Of Youth, Delegates Should Decide Gamrat Age Issue

Gamrat, left, talks to Michael Banerian, right, at The Pow Wow in Mt. Pleasant. (Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson)

WMP received this email recently and thought it was worth sharing. As always, email to send your submission for consideration.

There is something to be said about youth getting involved at a young age, and changing the political, social, and economic landscape as we know it. There is this passion, this ambition that drives them to accomplish the unimaginable. They try new ideas and take risks without fear. Some can even out perform their predecessors many years older than themselves. Examples of youth with these quality traits can be seen throughout history such as George Washington, known as the Father of America and Saira Blair, newly sworn in Delegate to the State House of West Virginia as the age of 18. History is full of these examples, and there is a lot to be learned from each. At the young age of 16 George Washington began his first job as a surveyor with Lord Thomas Fairfax. This was no easy task, and required him to many times sleep in the wilderness and wooden floors while out surveying lands. While completing work, Washington was able to earn money and buy his own parcels of land, and by the time he had turned 21, he was the official county surveyor, and had bought up over 1500 acres of his own land. This is the same man who went on to be one of the top generals in American history which would lead to his appointment as America’s first President.

We see an example here in our state of Michigan with our very first Governor, Steven T Mason, who at the age of 19 became the Secretary of the Michigan Territory. This was considered quite young as he could not vote in an election for another 2 years. While working to make Michigan a state without going through congressional approval, he gained a reputation of ambition and became Michigan’s Governor at 24 years of age.

Saira Blair of West Virginia is another example of exemplary ambition and skill invested within youth. While only a freshman at West Virginia University, Saira serves as the youngest ever elected legislator at 18 years old. In the primary election in May, Saira beat the sitting incumbent of the seat and went on to win the general election against the democrat candidate.

These are just a few youth in history who have impacted the world with their work, and have laid the groundwork the younger generations. There are many more, William Claiborne who was elected to U.S. Congress at the age of 22. Louis Braille who by age 15 had expanded never before charted territory for those with disabled sight. Bill Gates trailblazing the technological world, founding Microsoft at age 20. Multiple founding fathers who were younger then 25. What ties them all together? Ambition. Desire. Work Ethic. Traits that can never be given, but can only be found by one’s self.

Why is it that we don’t put faith into youth like we once did? Why is it that we used to entrust youth with so much power, encouragement, leadership, and now seem to lose sight of that? Youth have so much potential, and even in today’s world, can make a much bigger difference then many others.

This article is following the coat tails of a recent decision made by the Policy Committee of the Michigan Republican Party, who deemed Joey Gamrat (17) ineligible to Run as Youth Vice Chair of the Michigan Republican Party. Due to the fact that he was seen as to young, they denied his paperwork. They did this to a young man who has helped lead campaigns of great size across finish lines and started working as a political consultant at age 16. A young man who has coordinated volunteers and crated events throughout the state. A student himself who has strived beyond means to make the greatest impact he can with the life he has been given.

What are we doing turning away a students who has the same ambition, desire and work ethic like those above? The bylaws were silent on the eligibility to run as a candidate. It was done by William Claiborne when he ran for U.S. Congress and was elected at the age of 22, when the U.S. Constitution specifically states that the eligibility age to serve in Congress is 25. The voters elected Claiborne because they felt he would be a strong leader. Why was this not done in Joey’s case? Why were the delegates not entrusted with his eligibility, deciding for themselves if they wanted him to serve as their next Youth Vice Chair?
Concerned Precinct Delegate of the 10th District


Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at 


Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

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