17-year-old Missouri delegate heading to DNC

She's the youngest in the state's history
Posted at 12:44 PM, Jul 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 19:33:40-04

Among the hundreds of delegates attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday will be Missouri’s youngest in history.

Independence native Rachel Gonzalez is only 17 years old, but already has more political knowledge than most people twice her age. Her ambition and intelligence regarding the political system is the reason she was elected as Missouri’s youngest delegate ever this spring.

"I didn't even tell my parents I was running because I thought it was impossible,” said the William Chrisman High School senior.

Gonzalez is one of the two female Hillary Clinton delegates representing Missouri’s 5th Congressional District. She’s already met Clinton on the campaign trail numerous times. But her goals in Philadelphia lean more towards getting other people her age involved in the political process.

"I know the struggle of getting young people involved and I wanna know exactly what got them involved so I can try to implement it into what I'm doing,” said Gonzalez.

"To try to get more young people involved I try to explain how important each election is, not just the presidential election but the local elections,” she said.

Sarah Starnes is the other female Hillary Clinton delegate who was elected in Higginsville with Gonzalez. This will be her third trip to the DNC as a delegate, her first with someone so young. But after knowing Gonzalez for years already, she’s not surprised her young friend is making such an impact.

"She's got a lot of maturity. She's been totally invested in helping democratic candidates, and she's been a fan of Hillary Clinton since she was a little girl. I think she was 8 or 9 years old,” said Starnes.

Gonzalez is the Chair for High School Democrats of Missouri, part of the Jackson County Democrats and recently won the Jackson County ‘Young Democrat of the Year Award.’ She plans to attend Truman State next year, majoring in political science and criminal justice and hopes to become a civil rights attorney before running for state representative.




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