PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. – By day, he’s a student at West Ottawa High School. But once the bell rings, junior Hunter Ihrman switches over to a role few his age hold.
Not yet old enough to vote, Ihrman has already formed two Political Action Committees, or PACs, to raise money for a cause close to his heart – and one that will hopefully benefit him and his fellow students.
“As a younger person who doesn’t vote, I don’t really have a voice in terms of the decisions made in Lansing or in Washington,” Ihrman said. “So I looked at these PACs as a way a bunch of younger people could get together and have a unified voice that would resonate in the Capitol.”
Ihrman formed two separate political action committees, one that focuses on donations to local candidates and one to contribute funds to state and federal candidates, including presidential hopefuls. Hunter and his fellow fundraisers are only focused on candidates and legislation that will benefit education and, more specifically, arts programs in schools.
“We’re a pro-education PAC,” he said, “so we’re specifically looking at candidates who have a strong support of public education, who want to see an advancement in music and arts: school board trustees, state representatives, state senators.”
Hunter is dual-enrolled at West Ottawa High School and several local colleges, and he plays cello in the high school’s symphony orchestra, so he knows the benefits of a well-rounded education, and he says that’s the point of the PAC. Hunter is not letting his age come into play either.
In fact, if anything, he says his youth has helped him.
“People look at this and say, wow, there’s this 15-year-old who’s doing this, maybe I should be doing something,too.’” said Ihrman. “That’s how I’ve been able to attract people and get them interested in this PAC. People don’t associate youthfulness with corruption, thankfully.”
The goal is to raise $1,000 by the first round of general elections. For donations, Ihrman will be targeting the very people he’s trying to help – those between the ages of 18-25. To those interested in starting their own PAC, Ihrman encourages it and says the process for approval really isn’t that difficult. All he had to do was fill out a two-page document from the Michigan Bureau of Elections and wait the allotted time for them to approve it, which is usually only a few days.