17-year-old Aurora precinct committeeman has had a rough introduction to politics
As a young Republican running for precinct committeeman in Aurora during next month's General Primary Election, 17-year-old Carolyn Humphrey has been finding out that some liberals do not always practice the inclusivity and tolerance they preach.
That negatively manifested itself when Humphrey co-founded National Teenage Republicans at Oswego East High School, she said during a Will County Gazette email interview.
"The upbringing of Teen Age [sic] Republicans this (school) year created much backlash from students who claimed it to be a 'racist' club - and worse - based off what they perceived Republicans to be," Humphrey said.
"I chose to persevere through posters being ripped down and slander on social media, and still stood up for my beliefs. I have a passion for politics that remains unwavering and that is what keeps me persistent even at a young age."
Humphrey also has been active in setting up a Republican primary candidate forum, "Coffee With the Candidates," scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 18 at the high school. Humphrey got Illinois' 42nd District House Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), who is running against incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in next month's primary, to agree to attend the forum. The forum also is expected to be attended by Will County board candidates.
Illinois' 42nd State House District is entirely within DuPage County.
Humphrey was recently appointed as an Aurora committeeman by Will County Republican Chairman Kathy Havel and she is running for the position in Aurora Ward 9, Precinct 4 against Democrat Meta Mueller in next month's election.
"This appointment happened after I started National Teenage Republicans at Oswego East High School," Humphrey said. "In this club, I reached out to local GOPs to see how members could help with different political campaigns. I made a connection with Will County Chairman Kathy Havel, after helping in two parades and attending some meetings. Her support, as well as that of precinct committeeman Kerry Pace, encouraged me to seek out being a precinct committeeman in my own precinct."
As committeeman, Humphrey said she wants to spread the good news about the GOP.
"In this position I hope to accomplish providing voters with more information about the Republican Party and upcoming elections in their area," she said. "I believe it is important that voters are educated on these processes and that voter turnout will increase."
In addition to helping to co-found National Teenage Republicans, Humphrey has participated in Oswego East High School basketball, volleyball and cross country. In the spring of 2016, Humphrey was among Oswego East High School world language students competing in the National Spanish Exam, for which she placed in the top 50 percent in the nation. The junior honor student also has taught Spanish at the Oswego Senior Center.
Last February, Humphrey was among 18 Oswego East High School's Government Club members who went to Boston to participate in the 32nd annual Harvard Model Congress, the largest government simulation in the world.
Going into next month's election, Humphrey said she has a good idea where her biggest challenge lies but that her rocky entrée into politics will help her meet that challenge.
"My biggest challenge will most likely be the balance between this and school work," she said. "I am very involved in school clubs and community service, on top of running National Teenage Republicans. Though this presents a challenge, I have learned this year to create a steady equilibrium to remain strong in all these things."