Student Jackson Blackwell is diving into local politics as a Soldotna High School sophomore.
As his grade’s vice president, a member of the Kenai Peninsula Youth Court and the student representative on the Soldotna City Council, Blackwell recently levied his experiences into the state capitol’s political sphere during the 2015 legislative session.
In February he spent one day lobbying for the American Cancer Society. He travelled to Juneau with Soldotna’s Teens Against Tobacco Use chapter and the Teen Tobacco Control Line to speak out on the dangers of tobacco products.
Blackwell spent a few hours acting as a guest page in the House of Representatives for Rep. Kurt Olson, R-Soldotna, he said.
“That was really cool,” Blackwell said. “I learned a lot from that.”
Most surprising was the representatives communicate with handwritten notes during the session, since they are not allowed to use phones, Blackwell said. Texting is out, he said. Back home, Blackwell was the catalyst that reintroduced the student representative seat back to Soldotna’s City Council. After he was elected as sophomore class vice president, he met with council member, and Soldotna High School teacher Meggean Bos to look at the possibilities of reviving the position.
Blackwell said he wanted to be the liaison between school and city. He uses his role to advocate for the youth voice within the community, he said.
Recently Blackwell heard a piece of information that Senator Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, which made an impact on him about the importance of officials being aware the student voice in the capitol.
“One letter of a student is worth ten from adults,” Blackwell said.
Reach Kelly Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org