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The unofficial campaign manager: Politics — local and national — fascinate 12-year-old

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Jacob Stopper, 12, of Loyasock Township shows off some of the souvenirs he has collected from visits to presidential libraries. Jacob, who loves politics, has visited several presidential libraries and enjoys getting involved in local politics.

For 12-year-old Jacob Stopper, a sixth-grade student at the Loyalsock Middle School, attending local political forums recently was a natural thing to do, considering his passion for politics.

Making his parents, Jim and Elise Stopper, take him to two recent candidate forums, Jacob dressed in his suit and tie.

“Jim and I were not going to attend the forums or debates. He insisted that we go,” said his mother. “If he is going to a political event, or a school concert, something that requires dressing up, he always insists that he wear a suit and tie,” she continued. “He’s the only boy I know that is excited when opening up a gift of fancy clothing!”

Not a recent phenomenon, Jacob Stopper has been interested in politics since 2016.

“I think it came from when I watched the Republican National Convention,” he recently told the Sun-Gazette.

“We were on vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, in the summer of 2016. I became so fascinated with Donald Trump. I had to watch the Democratic National Convention to see who was on their side,” Jacob Stopper said, adding, “I picked Trump.”

A year prior to that, when he was in second grade, the lad had picked up a book about Abraham Lincoln, which sparked an interest in presidents.

“From then on, I tried to learn all I could about presidents,” he said.

Those two things together fueled his interest in the political world.

“I kind of liked the issues,” he said of the recent forums, adding that he wanted to support two local candidates. The young Stopper shared that he’s an unofficial campaign manager for the two candidates.

“I need to get to the forums to support them. If I don’t, I think I’m going to get fired,” he laughed.

Reviewing his favorite presidents, his list included both Republicans and Democrats.

His top five include Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt and Donald Trump.

One of the Loyalsock Township youth’s goals is to visit all of the presidential libraries across the country.

His mother, Elise Stopper, interjected that he also was sad when President Barack Obama, a Democrat, left office, because he was the only president he had known in his life until President Trump.

Jacob Stopper did get to see Trump when he was at Montoursville earlier this year.

Elise Stopper shared that they had VIP tickets and were first in line for the event.

Jacob Stopper has not let his cerebral palsy curb his ambition, in fact his mother said that he told her he is going to be the second president of the country with a disability.

He now serves as vice president of the Loyalsock Middle School’s Future Business Leaders Association. He said he had lacked the experience to win the club’s presidency, although he did demand a recount.

As he looks to the future, a run for Congress in California is a possibility, he said.

From there, he thinks a run for governor of that state could be next.

But for now, he would like to run for president of FBLA again, and then president of his class.

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