Young Dem of the Week --GIDEON GRUEL--
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 February 19 is Gideon Gruel. Gideon is originally from the east, but currently lives in Pocatello. He has 8 siblings and is a senior at Highland High School. After graduation, Gideon will be going to college to study Philosophy. Currently, he is the president of the Highland High School Young Democrats. The group is planning a trip to Boise to participate in YMCA Youth and Government this April.
IDYD: What made you want to get involved in politics? What was your first political experience like?
Gideon: I’ve always been pretty adamant about politics, and my mom was considering a run for a local office. I went to the meetings with her and got in touch with the local Idaho Democratic Party Field Organizer, Ethan Secrist. We hit it off, and he offered me an internship that allowed me to put my passions to work for our local and legislative candidates. I would say my first political experience was daunting. I overdressed at all the function (I stopped because everyone teased me about it) and didn’t really know what to expect, but the Bannock County Democrats are some super awesome people it wasn’t hard to get involved and make friends.
IDYD: What is one thing you were surprised to learn when you first got involved?
Gideon: One thing that surprised me when I first got involved was the amount of questions people asked. I had always been the one with questions, but when Ethan put me in charge of a phonebank or gave me volunteers I needed to follow-up with, I had to run into his office every other minute to ask or confirm something. Thankfully I had a great boss and mentor, but it was a bit of a shock when people had questions I didn’t know how to answer.
IDYD: Who is your greatest political inspiration? Why?
Gideon: A year ago (closer to the 2016 election) I would have said Bernie Sanders, and while I still view him as a beloved political icon, I have to say AOC. Her ability to cut through the BS we frequently see in Congress and with our current president along with her de facto leadership of the socialist facet of Democrats is so fresh and inspiring. I think that she is a face everyone (young people especially) can trust, and also a face that corporations and unethical congresspersons can fear.
IDYD: What words of wisdom would you share with young people around the state?
Gideon: Get involved. I cannot stress enough the importance of civil discourse and political awareness ESPECIALLY in a democracy under attack (like ours). It’s not enough to talk about the issues. Right now, lobbyists are being paid thousands of dollars, backed by huge industries, even in our own state, to put their corporate interests above our interests. I had no clue about anything local, and only a vague idea of national issues, when I started; you don’t have to be an expert, just a concerned citizen. Get in contact with your local leadership, volunteer for phone banking or door knocking, start a club in your school dedicated to political literacy, and vote. Our democracy only works when you do.
IDYD: What issues are you most passionate about?
Gideon: I am very passionate about LGBTQ+ rights, voting rights (who isn’t after this most recent election), and economic mobility in the US.
IDYD: Politically, what would you like to see happen in Idaho this year?
Gideon: I hope that the legislature chooses to enact Medicaid Expansion, and I also hope that we get some positive action on the Add the Words campaign.
IDYD: It’s still early, but do you have anyone you’d like to run for President in 2020?
Gideon: Honestly, Bernie Sanders. I realize that many Democrats are pushing for newer faces, especially women, but I feel he has the experience, a platform I can get behind, and I think he could do wonders in the presidency. That being said, there is no way Bernie will ever be president, he’s too liberal (even for some Democrats). Everyone saw Congress’ reaction to Trump saying the US would never be socialist, even some Dems stood up. So realistically I’d like Kirsten Gillibrand to be president. She isn’t my first choice, but she has a good chance at doing well and is a solid, moderate Democrat.
Thank you, Gideon, for all your hard work! To nominate somebody for Young Dem of the Week, click here.