February 26, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Young Dem of the Week for the week of February 26, 2018, is our Vice President Henry Shafer-Coffey. Henry is 20 years old and is pursuing degrees in English and Political Science.
Question 1: What made you want to get involved in politics? What was your first political experience like?
Henry: I was fortunate to be listening to the Bill Simmons Podcast in March of 2016 when he interviewed Jon Favreau and Dan Pfieffer. A week later, Simmons gave them a show called “Keepin’ It 1600’ (which became ‘Pod Save America’ after the election). I was instantly a fan.
I was already intensely interested in the 2016 primaries – how could you not be? But these former Obama aides discussed politics in a way that was funny, approachable, and inspiring. I never knew politics could be those three things. So, I became an intern at the Idaho Democrats. And guess what? The people at the Idaho Democrats were also funny, approachable and inspiring. I was hooked.
Question 2: What is one thing you were surprised to learn when you first got involved?
Henry: I had no idea how much power we have as citizens to affect local and state government.
Everything, and I mean everything, that happens in politics is published online for you to see. Anyone can testify at a legislative hearing just by walking in on time. Anyone can meet in person with their representative. I am amazed by how much pressure a few passionate people can assert on the whole democratic system.
Question 3: Who is/was your greatest political inspiration? Why?
Henry: It’s not original, but it’s hard to top Barack. The grace, wisdom, brilliance, and patience he displayed as president was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
Barack Obama taught constitutional law, was generally hilarious (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM-Q_zpuJGU), and posted up Kareem (https://youtu.be/Gch0SmjEOuI?t=122). That guy was our president.
Question 4: What words of wisdom would you give to young people?
Henry: Yeesh. Not sure I’m old enough to dispense wisdom to anyone. But I guess I would say pay attention. Don’t wait fifty years to care about politics; it may seem cynical and boring, but if young people care, America will get way, way better. It’s that simple.
Also – politics can still be a lot of fun. Even now.
Question 5: What issues are you most passionate about?
Henry: There are many, but I am most passionate about not jumping to conclusions. Paying attention to politics is exhausting, and the issues are complex. It’s so tempting to choose your set of viewpoints and start talking down to those clueless dullards on Facebook.
We must constantly remind ourselves that there is so much that we don’t understand, and so much that we can’t anticipate. We must constantly reexamine issues, reconsider policies, and remember that even our opponents can be right sometimes. As I see it, that’s the only way discussion and progress can occur.
Question 6: What would you like to see happen in Idaho politics this year?
Henry: I want to see young people come out for the midterm primaries and elections. This is an unprecedented time in politics. Our future is on the line. We must turn out and vote, or else older, more ignorant, and more intolerant people will do a bunch of distasteful things and generally make our lives worse.
Question 7: Is there anything else you’d like to let the people of Idaho know?
Henry: Idaho has many, many, many incredible young people. I am honored to be among them, and excited to work with as many of them as I can.
To nominate somebody for Young Dem of the Week, please email us at email@example.com and tell us why they should be Young Dem of the Week.