Hope Rising

Meet Jason Rae. At 21, he’s the youngest Democratic superdelegate in America

Meet Jason Rae. At 21, he’s the youngest Democratic superdelegate in America

Where are you from, and where do you call home now?

I grew up and spent the first 18 years of my life in Rice Lake, Wisconsin—God’s country. My parents were born and raised in the area and still call it home. Currently though, I’m in my final year at Marquette University. I find myself calling Milwaukee home presently, but will always have Rice Lake in my heart.

How did you get involved in politics?

It was just something that happened. Mary Hubler, my State Representative, got me started. She took me to a few meetings before I was even old enough to drive, and since then politics have been a part of my life. I started attending local county party meetings, got involved in some statewide committees, and then took a big step in 2004 when, at 17, I ran for the Democratic National Committee. My involvement has grown exponentially since then.

How does someone become a superdelegate?

Superdelegates automatically get the position of an unpledged delegate based on membership in one of three groups. The first group is all of the Democratic governors, next are Democratic members of Congress, and then finally members of the Democratic National Committee. Because I was elected to the DNC in 2004, I became an automatic delegate, aka superdelegate, for the 2008 convention.

What should Wisconsin voters know?

Wisconsin has always been one of the closest presidential races. In 2004, John Kerry only won the state by about 10,000 votes. Wisconsin voters need to know how important their role is; how important it is that they turn out on election day. They have the choice between four more years of failed policies or bringing about the change that America so desperately needs.

You’ve met with Chelsea Clinton, Michelle and Barack Obama. You’ve taken phone calls from Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright. What next?

I wish I had some clue where I see myself after I graduate in May. Right now I have no idea. Possibly graduate school, possibly running for office some day. Right now though, I’m focused solely on making sure we elect Barack Obama in November and then focused on finishing up classes at Marquette so I can graduate.

*Editor’s Note: Rae is the youngest person ever elected to the Democratic National Committee. Rae is included on a list of openly gay politicians in The Advocate’s “Forty under 40” issue of June/July 2009.