WINNER OF THE 2013 RISING STAR AWARD
Tristan Carman, 17, may not be able to vote yet, but he’s no stranger to politics. A senior at St. Albert’s High School in Council Bluffs, Carman first got involved with the Democratic Party in June of 2011, when he started volunteering for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in Iowa. Carman has stayed involved ever since, and this Saturday night, he will be recognized for all of his hard work when he receives the Iowa Democratic Party’s 2013 Rising Star Award.
For Carman, the decision to get involved three years ago was a simple one. “I felt that I wanted to make a difference in my community,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of something greater.”
After watching then-Senator Barack Obama win the 2008 election as a seventh grader, Carman decided that next time around, he wanted to help re-elect him. Carman got involved all on his own by signing up to volunteer on the Obama website. “The Grassroots Planning Session was the first thing I attended,” he said, “and then I agreed to do a phonebank, and it kind of just went off from there.”
Shortly after these initial experiences, Carman caught the political bug. “I kind of fell in love with the whole process,” he said.
Carman’s favorite part of being involved in politics is the relationships he has been able to build. “I love building relationships with people,” he said, “and spending time with them, and being able to share Democrats’ message with complete strangers.”
Carman was surprised to find out he had been selected as this year’s Rising Star Award winner because of his young age. He is very excited to receive the award, and also appreciative of everyone who helped him get where he is today. “I’m really appreciative of all of the people who were in the party and who I met and worked with because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have been able to get where I am today,” Carman said. “…I was just a 15 year old kid, and they took me in and taught me everything I know today and got me where I am today.”
After Carman graduates from high school next year, he plans to attend college and major in political science, with a minor in journalism. Carman’s not necessarily sure where that will take him, but he knows he wants to stay involved in politics. He dreams of being a political speechwriter or a press secretary.
But for now, Carman is completely focused on supporting President Obama and electing Democrats up and down the ticket in 2014. “Things have improved since he was elected and fought for lower taxes for the middle class,” Carman said, “but we still have a lot of work to do.”