I think I just had a conversation with a future U.S. president.
Jordan Paschal, a senior at Mount Pleasant High School, is already making plans for a career of public service.
I first heard about Jordan a few weeks ago, when he was selected as one of two N.C. delegates to the U.S. Senate Youth Program. After a lot of e-mail messages and phone tag, Jordan and I had a talk.
I was impressed. I strongly suspect I'll be voting for Jordan in the future.
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Winning the appointment to the Senate Youth Program is impressive enough. Jordan's application included three essays and a three-minute video.
About a month after applying, Jordan was invited to Raleigh with five other state finalists for an interview and a U.S. history exam. A month later, he learned he had been selected as a delegate.
Next month, he will travel to Washington, D.C., for the weeklong program. The 104 delegates (two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity) will tour museums and historic sites, visit the Senate and House chambers, meet with senators and a Supreme Court justice and visit the Pentagon.
Jordan said the president usually meets with the delegates, but that has not yet been confirmed for this year.
Besides this all-expense-paid trip, Jordan also will9 receive a $5,000 college scholarship. He plans to attend UNCChapel Hill.
Jordan is excited because he hopes to have a career in politics and public service.
I asked what he would stand for as an elected official. Jordan said even though it is an overworked idea, he is a believer in bipartisanship.
He says he's frustrated by politicians who seem to lose their common sense once they're elected, and by the absence of compromise in government. He's frustrated by uninformed voters, and by politicians who don't do their homework to understand issues.
A newly registered voter, Jordan is not affiliated with a political party. He says he thinks too much attention is paid to party agendas, resulting in ineffective leaders and government.
Jordan already serves in an elected position. At school he is president of the senior class and a member of the Beta Club and Student Council. But don't think he's all about current affairs and schoolwork; he also races Legends cars when his schedule allows.
Asked where he imagines himself in 20 years, Jordan said he wouldn't mind being governor, but would prefer to serve at the federal level, perhaps as a U.S. senator. After talking with Jordan, hearing what he says about challenges we face and his plans to prepare himself for public service, I think we'll be in good hands.