Jackson Boaz has a full schedule these days.
As co-founder of the Healdsburg Democratic Club, he’s spearheading the city’s newly formed political organization for left-leaning thinkers. He’s also political director of Wine Country Young Democrats, and he serves as a parks and recreation commissioner for the city of Healdsburg.
Oh yeah—he’s also manages the workload of every other eighth grader at St. John the Baptist Catholic School. Because Boaz is only 14 years old.
Indeed, while most teenagers spend free time Tweeting about the Giants’ anemic offense or ogling Ariana Grande videos on YouTube, Boaz is moving and shaking in a very different world: the world of Sonoma County politics.
“I’ve been into this stuff for as long as I can remember,” he said. “It’s just part of who I am.”
He’s not exaggerating. One of the young man’s earliest memories is marching in a parade on behalf of State Sen. Mike McGuire back in 2010.
More recently, just weeks after his 12th birthday, Boaz became an intern in McGuire’s office. He currently works there on half days, days off and weekends whenever he can.
His enthusiasm for politics led Boaz to the Wine Country Young Democrats, a Napa/Sonoma organization for 13- to 36-year-olds that champions issues such as climate change, healthcare, education, voting rights and civil rights.
It also prompted him to start the Healdsburg Democratic Club. This happened organically at the end of 2018.
Boaz was at a meeting of the Windsor Democratic Club when President Rick Massell mentioned Healdsburg didn’t have a club of its own. Boaz, despite his age and his other commitments, snapped into action.
Boaz sent emails to progressive leaders in the community to gauge interest and support among a phalanx of fellow founders. These founding members met at Moustache Baked Goods for the first time at the end of January.
The group had its first official meeting last week at the Healdsburg Senior Center, and welcomed speaker Eduardo Torres, Northern California coordinator for Tenants Together, a statewide renters’ rights organization that advocates on behalf of California tenants for safe, decent, and affordable housing.
“It was great to learn more about such an important issue in our community,” said Boaz. “The goal of the club is to create a center for people to get involved, both in politics and in community service, and to encourage discussion and debate over key local and national issues.”
Being a 14-year-old community leader certainly has pros and cons. One of the benefits: Endless energy.
Between maintaining a straight-A average at school, engineering an active social life, and all his extracurricular political work, Boaz says he’s rarely tired, even though he sleeps only four or five hours a night.
One of the downsides: He’s too young to drive.
To solve this problem, Boaz says he leans on two of his grandfathers, who are retired and available to give him rides. (If the Boaz name sounds familiar, that’s because Jackson is the eldest child of Jason, fire chief at the Healdsburg Fire Department.)
The bottom line: This indomitable young man isn’t going to let anything stand in his way of making a difference in the Healdsburg community or the world at large.
“We young people have a say in the future,” he said. “I want to make sure we make the most of it.”
Matt Villano is a writer and editor based in Healdsburg. His column spotlights good people in the community doing great things. Learn more about him at whalehead.com.