Healdsburg teen Jackson Boaz, 14, is already a political pro
Regardless of political affiliation, the political divide seems to worsen by the day. But ask just-turned 14-year-old Jackson Boaz what he likes best, and he’ll answer “politics.”
Boaz belies his age when he talks. The slender, outgoing teen with a crown of dark brown hair carries the requisite laptop. His sparkling blue eyes are intelligent and direct.
Jackson remembers “painfully boring” City Council meetings that still held a “fascination” for him when he was very young. As a 5-year-old, he started his political career walking in parades for now-state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, along with family members who supported his “I like Mike” campaign. McGuire rose from being the youngest member of the school board at age 19, to City Council, to Healdsburg mayor and the board of supervisors before being first elected to the state senate in 2014.
As Boaz watched and helped, he caught the “bug.” By sixth grade, McGuire had offered an internship in Sacramento. That was two years ago.
Now, Boaz is racking up his own political bona fides.
He spent several days this summer in Sacramento as an intern, including helping submit a senate joint resolution — SJR30 — in support of Amtrak. He worked on the website, ran errands, stripped binders and delivered press releases.
He’s the active and engaged student body president at St. John’s School in Healdsburg, where he carries a 4.0 grade point average, and is working as a campaign consultant for school board candidate Mike Potmesil. Of course, he’s too young to drive.
To get to the offices where he volunteers, he hitches rides with friends and relatives, or depends on his two grandfathers, Doug Boaz and Bill Peppin.
Boaz also serves on the Healdsburg Junior High School Governance Council as a community member. There was some confusion about his age when he was initially invited to join the council — from his resume, members expected an adult.
And he volunteers, serving on the executive board of the Wine Country Young Democrats, with the Redwood Empire Food Bank, the Foss Creek Cleanup and at open houses at the Healdsburg Fire Department where his father, Jason Boaz, is fire chief. During the October fires, Jackson spent 60 hours volunteering at the Healdsburg Community Center evacuation site.
Last spring, before student body elections, he went all out with a campaign, speeches, and best friend and running mate Alex Fitzpatrick. They created a website, and included proposed policy changes — and potential solutions — for teachers and the principal.
The two solicited political donations of $200, created the permitted four posters, made T-shirts and business cards, and got endorsements from the current Healdsburg City Council, McGuire and Fourth District Board of Supervisor James Gore.
He says Permit Sonoma commissioner Ariel Kelley, whom he worked with at the Healdsburg Free Store, is “inspiring” to him, as are Mary Watts, a candidate for Santa Rosa City Council, and Chris Rogers, current vice mayor of Santa Rosa.
His latest project is working as campaign consultant to Potmesil, a neophyte candidate who values Boaz’s input.
“Jackson is a force, in a positive way,” said Potmesil. “He’s connected and knows everybody.” Potmesil said the first time he saw Boaz at a fundraiser he thought he was a college student, and was astounded to discover he was a rising eighth-grader.