February 12, 2018
Each week, we nominate a Young Dem in Idaho for our weekly spotlight. Our goal is to increase involvement and highlight the hard work of amazing Young Dems in our state. To nominate someone for Young Dem of the Week, please email us at email@example.com.
Our Young Dem of the Week for the week of February 12, 2018, is Idaho Young Democrats Field Director Crispin Gravatt. Crispin was born in Pocatello, and grew up mostly in Twin Falls. In 2016, he graduated from Boise State University with degrees in French, Sociology, Economics, and Gender Studies. While at BSU, he served on various committees, including Promotionsand Tenure, Student Academic Advisory Board, and several clubs. In 2014, he represented the Western/Pacific US as a Human Right Delegate in Paris. Currently, Crispin helps the educators and students of Idaho, ensuring that the agency he works with has current and accurate outcomes data, effective student competitions, and accountable and responsible practices. Recently, Crispin was a candidate for Boise City Council.
Question 1: What made you want to get involved in politics? What was your first political experience like?
Crispin: When I graduated from Boise High School, I wanted to be a high school economics teacher. I cared about my peers and the learning environment, and I wanted to do everything I could to ensure that classrooms were inclusive of all students and effective at providing information in an accessible way. Once I started learning about all the hurdles – administrative, social, and economic – in the way of our educators, I started volunteering with campaigns that prioritized education. I believed, as I do to this day, that public education is the gatekeeper to social opportunity. The more I learned about the process by volunteering this way, the more I felt confident in my ability to create change in other fields. My first time engaging with initiative campaigns and testifying in front of legislators was with Planned Parenthood. I will never forget the terror I felt – the training I had received hardly prepared me for the feeling of walking among those imposing marble columns. But I believed in the testimony I was about to give, and confident in my role as a male advocate for my friends who would be impacted by this legislation. After nearly two hours of additional testimony, I joined the chorus of protest after the legislation passed out of committee. That vote solidified my desire to work to make Idaho the place I want to live.
Question 2: What is one thing you were surprised to learn when you first got involved?
Crispin: After I started getting involved, I was shocked at just how easy it became. Granted, the very first hurdle was the highest. I nearly hyperventilated during my first committee hearing. But the more I did it, the easier it became. Once I got more comfortable in the processes, I felt it was my responsibility to help others learn to use their voices.
Question 3: Who is/was your greatest political inspiration? Why?
Crispin: To this day, Idaho Representative Melissa Wintrow is my greatest political inspiration. It was really through her Intro to Gender Studies course that I began my foray into political action. During my time at Boise State, she was one of the most consistently available, insightful, and open people. She has clearly carried her values of equality, honesty, and hard work to the statehouse, never sacrificing an ounce of her integrity along the way. I credit Melissa with transforming my thought process in those formative years, and I am constantly inspired by the work she gets done.
Question 4: What words of wisdom would you give to young people?
Crispin: Start big. Run for office. Make things happen. If you are passionate about an issue in your community, know that you can have a very real impact. You do not need to “wait your turn” if you feel that you can make a difference now!
Question 5: What issues are you most passionate about?
Crispin: My primary passion is reflected in my line of work: education. Advocacy in this field is the reason I got into political activity. Right now, I’m splitting my free time between two projects. First, I am actively recruiting candidates across the state to run for every office, from precinct captain to statewide office. If Idahoans have a choice to make on the ballot, I believe many of them will choose the candidate that stands for stronger education, accountability in government, stewardship of the environment, and protection of all Idahoans. I am also working within my community to expand services for LGBT survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse. Currently, I am bringing stakeholders from various organizations together to break down the historic barriers that have prevented reporting and treatment for these individuals. I also actively work on sustainability and environmental issues, local politics, and various human rights initiatives.
Question 6: What would you like to see happen in Idaho politics this year?
Crispin: I want to see that no candidate runs unopposed. That is the only sure way to guarantee that things stay the way they are. The very worst we can do is recruit progressive people who say their piece and demonstrate the integrity and ideas we can bring.
To nominate somebody for Young Dem of the Week, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why they should be Young Dem of the Week.