Young Dem of the Week JP Chastain!
Each week, IDYD will spotlight an outstanding Idaho Young Dem. Our mission is to highlight the hard work of Young Dems around the state, and share their stories. Want to nominate someone for Young Dem of the Week? Click here.
Our Young Dem of the Week for the week of January 28 is Joseph “JP” Chastain. JP is a cognitive psychologist turned digital sociologist and cybersecurity expert who uses online data to benefit the world. He is the oldest Google Partner in Idaho at 10 years, and now worsk to standardize trust and credibility with drug treatment facilities, old age homes, and stem cell products nationwide. He also studies microgravitational neurobiology and sits on the board of directors at the Overview Institute with people such as George Whitesides, Barbara Marx Hubbard and several previous astronauts.
IDYD: What made you want to get involved in politics? What was your first political experience like?
JP: I continue to be motivated to help my fellow human in whatever way I can, that means when I see any political philosophy that is inconsistent or unfair to the people it's to protect, I have to do something. My first political experience wasn't your normal introduction, I had been in a serious truck accident on my bicycle when I was 9 and the only reason I lived was the helmet I was wearing. At the time, Illinois law did not allow for cities to set regional helmet laws or give citations, so I and my family petitioned all the way to the Illinois supreme court. The first time was 10. We lost, as at the time communicating the social stigma was beyond my capabilities. At 12, my friend Kyle Jardeen attempted a bunny hop and sadly hit a curb and lost his life. With me and his mother in tow as well as many well intentioned lawmakers, we cleared the way for helmet laws in Illinois for young children that has saved countless lives.
IDYD: What is one thing you were surprised to learn when you first got involved?
JP: People choose excitement. Great qualifications and passion are integral to a successful message, in my experience so is excitement. If you want to change your state, your city, or your neighborhood, you are going to need something that responds to each person at their deepest level of understanding.
IDYD: Who is your greatest political inspiration? Why?
JP: Oh this will get me in trouble a bit. It's important to understand however. I have a few people who I believe are philosophically consistent such as Elizabeth Warren, Barney Frank, and Bernie Sanders but it also includes a respect for the other side when consistent. Even though I disagree on many things, I also hold Rand Paul and John Kasich in high regard. To define who you are, it is important to acknowledge those who you are not.
IDYD: What words of wisdom would you share with young people around the state?
JP: Educate those who don’t understand, listen to differing opinions, understand the greater good for all, and NEVER give up fighting for what is right. The young voices are often trivialized due to the misconception that they lack better understanding, however some of the greatest political movements have been motivated by the young voices. Don’t give up. Be willing to learn. Be willing to be disappointed. Be willing to be humble when you succeed and stronger with each failure. Read, for heaven's sake read!
IDYD: What issues are you most passionate about?
JP: Cybersecurity and data protection is very important to our way of life. I seek to be a resource in securing our country's data. Outside of politics I'm working on evidence based drug rehabilitation certification nationwide, certifying old age and nursing homes for ethical treatment, lab testing stem cell products to protect an emerging market, and studying the effects of microgravity on the human brain.
IDYD: Politically, what would you like to see happen in Idaho this year?
JP: For the statehouse to get the Medicaid expansion enacted. The people have spoken and I'm getting tired of the feet dragging while people suffer.
IDYD: It’s still early, but do you have anyone you’d like to run for President in 2020?
JP: I'm nothing if not honest and as of today, Kamala Harris has the vigor, understanding and fortitude to be an excellent President. However, I am hoping any of the announced candidates will figure out how to reach out to the other side, so Bernie or Biden are also on my list depending on how things shake out.
IDYD: Is there anything else you’d like to share with Democrats around Idaho?
JP: I hope as I say this, it falls on ears receptive to the words. We must study more. We must bring back better civic education for our kids. We must take education in this state seriously. The world is changing, and supplementary code and robotics education courses should be more prevalent if we hope to program the farming machines of the future, keep commerce in Idaho, and give our kids a chance to earn a living wage.
Thank you, JP, for all your hard work! To nominate somebody for Young Dem of the Week, click here.