Leo Gruenstein, a senior at the Gregory School in Tucson, successfully registered 100 students in a week, as part of a Mission for Arizona project to get young voters to the polls. The latest episode of LD9’s Larry Bodine Live video show interviews Leo about his project, the good response he is getting, and how he first became active in local politics.
He is a varsity player on the tennis and basketball teams, the managing editor of the school newspaper, and President of High School Democrats TGS (short for The Gregory School). He is also an intern in both Mission for Arizona, a joint effort by Arizona Democrats to elect Mark Kelly and Democrats up and down the ballot in 2020.
Leo’s goal is to register 1,500 seniors by October 5. To accomplish that, he is inviting first-time high school voters at other schools to become First2First – bit.ly/first2first – captains at their schools. “It’s incredibly important work,” he says. “We’re trying to register as many kids across the state as possible.”
In a letter to the editor published August 4 in the Arizona Star, he wrote that in 2018, 18-29-year-olds accounted for only 7.5 percent of the more than 1.1 million votes cast, despite the fact that young voters make up one of the largest demographics.
Why is this happening? “It’s too intimidating. Kids are afraid to approach the news. For whatever reason, they don’t feel comfortable talking about politics. There’s too much bigotry in our country right now, and kids are afraid to talk amongst themselves in a positive light. That’s a huge reason why kids are afraid to get into politics.”
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He first got interested in politics when his father ran for Congress in the 1980s. “He definitely motivated me to get into this,” Leo says.
You can follow this inspiring young man on Twitter at twitter.com/leo_gruenstein.