Marion Teen is 2012 Democratic National Convention’s Youngest Delegate [VIDEO]

Patch catches up with 17-year-old Sam Gray at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE, NC -- Editor's note: Sam Gray, 17, is a senior at in Marion, Iowa.

Sam, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. So you’re 17 years old; your first convention I take it?

Yes, it’s my first national convention, and it’s exceeded all my expectations. It’s a great experience. There are so many different people here. Everyone can get involved.

How did you become a delegate, and why did you decide to become a delegate?

Well, when I knew I was going to be old enough to participate in this kind of thing, I decided to go to the county and then district and then state conventions. When I went to the district convention, that’s when I decided I wanted to run to be a national delegate. I gave a speech about youth support — how it’s still alive — and that I wanted to come and represent that. After that I was elected to come here.


Here's more DNC-related coverage with an Iowa theme:


Tell me about your college plans and what you want to major in?

Well I want to major in political science and economics, and I’m thinking about going to either Drake University or the University of Portland.

Do you have any idea what the future holds?

Well, if I’m not in politics, I’d either be an attorney or a financial advisor.

Do you think you might want to run for an elected office?

That depends. If I knew that I could make a positive difference in an elected position, I would run. It would just depend on the circumstances.

Is there a particular politician who you would like to meet?

I guess basically everyone who has spoken here this week. They’ve all been great to hear, and I’ve been able to meet a variety of people who have spoken at our delegation’s breakfasts.

What reaction do you usually get from people when they find out you’re 17 years old?

They’re surprised. A lot of people wonder how I’m even here!

What’s been the highlight this week? What will be the lasting memory from DNC 2012? 

Well, I actually didn’t know I was the youngest delegate in the nation. I knew I was the youngest in Iowa, but yesterday morning at breakfast the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party told me that I was the youngest delegate in the nation. That was pretty cool, and that’s something I’ll always remember.

John September 06, 2012 at 03:39 PM
With age comes expirence and wisdom and right now he has neither. When he becomes an adult and has to handle his own life and sees what the dems are about he won't be a dem for long.
B.A. Morelli September 06, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Regardless of political leanings, I applaud this 17-year-old for having the gumption to go out and get himself elected as a delegate.
L Murphy September 06, 2012 at 04:11 PM
How can he be a delegate when he's not even old enough to vote?
B.A. Morelli September 06, 2012 at 04:16 PM
His birthday is in October, so he will be eligible to vote on Election Day.
Robert Kyte September 06, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Wait til he finds out how dirty the republicans play at politics and he'll stay a democrat is more likely ,but then again he's probably finding or found that to be true already,What a pompous attitude!
Lynda Johnsen September 06, 2012 at 04:50 PM
He is probably a son of a free loader and has been brainwashed all his life. What does he know about real life experience except listening to liberal adults in his environment. This is the kind of voters Obama wants---naive and uneducated.
Stephen Breen September 06, 2012 at 05:36 PM
you would be wise to look at you own attutude about others given your assumptions. It would appear you are uneducated by your comments. How have you been influenced by your environment. I do believe we are all influenced by others, good, bad, or indifferently.
B.A. Morelli September 06, 2012 at 05:43 PM
@Lynda, for what it's worth demographics from the last local Iowa Senate election, in which Marion is a large part, shows slightly more registered GOP than Dems, with more independents than either. Fairly balanced community, politically speaking.
Jake September 06, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Another young mind twisted by the liberal teachings in our school systems. A young mind that will be dependent upon a government because he was not taught that he is the government. It is a real shame.
Pete September 06, 2012 at 06:45 PM
craig9 September 06, 2012 at 07:14 PM
John you know this HOW ? If you know this, you have already won a powerball lottery!! How did you miss PRESIDENT OBAMA getting elected? WOW you need to shine that crystal ball of yours!!!
James L. Coster September 06, 2012 at 07:18 PM
I can relate to this story. Years ago while still in high school, I ran for sheriff as a Democrat in W.Va. I was the youngest person to run for political office in that state. It was quite an experience. After high school I found myself at Harvard and then at the Carter White House. Believing that Democrats cared for “average folk” I continued in the Carter/Mondale reelection; the Mondale/Ferarra campaigns and finally with the Dukakis/Bentson campaign. Unfortunately by then, “the Party” had gone off in a much more liberal course than what my working class and simple “God-fearing” W.Va. up-bringing could tolerate. I went on to law school, the military and to work on George W. Bush’s two campaigns. I am often reminded of the old adage: “if a man in his 20’s is not a liberal, he has no heart, but if a man in his 60’s is not a conservative, he has no brain.” I can remember no presidential campaign in the last 45 years that has presented such a stark choice of two different views of America’s future. I did not vote for Mr. Obama and will vote for Mr. Romney. However, I believe that this election could go to either man. Whatever the outcome in November, America will be facing problems of a size and nature that we have not seen since World War II. I hope the two parties can find a way to work together or there may not be many more “conventions” for any young people to attend.


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