Local teen sets sights on 2060 Presidential race
When people think of small towns, they generally think of bonfires, big trucks, and camo, and few towns would be considered smaller than Bloomburg. It may be a town without a stoplight, but that doesn’t stop the students of Bloomburg ISD from reaching for the stars.
Garrit Blizzard is a student who has the biggest dream - to become the president of the United States. Although most kids eventually forget this dream as they leave elementary, Blizzard who is a junior at Bloomburg High School, has set this, the biggest possible goal, in his sights, and he is already working toward representing the Republican Party in the 2060 election. His interests in history and politics, and the seriousness with which he approaches these topics sets Blizzard apart from his peers.
Over a year ago Blizzard started preparing for the midterm elections working for both the Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz campaigns. Blizzard worked on his first campaign for Ted Cruz last year after making repeated efforts to contact the campaign. His persistence paid off. When he finally heard back from the campaign, they encouraged him to start a phone bank. He used the Ted Cruz app, “Cruz Crew” to help him get started, beginning with just five phone calls. “One person answered, and they told me never to call ever again,” Blizzard said. Most people would have let rejection deter them, but Blizzard refused to give up.
In total Blizzard attempted to contact 150 voters through his phone bank for the Cruz campaign.
The next campaign Blizzard decided to tackle was Greg Abbott’s. However, this campaign opportunity was face-to-face rather than over the phone. Those who know him well would agree that talking with people in person could pose a challenge for Blizzard who is generally reserved and quiet in his speech. However, he acknowledges that if he wants to join the political arena, talking in public will have to become second nature for this normally shy teen. For the Greg Abbott campaign, Blizzard took part in a “block walk”, where he went knocking on people’s doors asking them survey questions for the campaign. Like the phone bank, Blizzard met with rejection from the first house. However, after five or six houses took the survey, Blizzard became more resolute. “I started out less confident,” Blizzard said. “I didn’t want to make people angry. But I didn’t encounter anyone rude or mean; most people answered the questions.”
When Blizzard discusses politics, his passion becomes obvious. His serious, stoic expression breaks into a smile as he talks about how Cruz stands out among the other senators. Garrit chuckles as he tells a story he heard about Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz. “That’s one thing that drives me toward Ted Cruz,” Blizzard says, “how nobody in the establishment likes him.” Blizzard makes it a point to say that although he likes Ted Cruz, he does not agree with all of Cruz’ positions, but Blizzard continues to support Cruz saying, “It’s like he was born to have this job.”
Like Cruz, Blizzard also seems born for a life in politics. He already has a plan for entering the political arena, beginning with his education. Blizzard plans to attend Princeton University and major in political science or history. Blizzard is not naive though. He realizes his dreams are huge and says just going to a university like that would be “historic for my family and historic for this school”. Tapping his fingers on the desk like he is checking off a list, Blizzard continues to lay out his map toward the presidency. He intends to obtain a law degree then begin his political career in Texas where he would eventually like to run for state senator and Lieutenant Governor. Most people would assume he would chase the governor’s seat, but Blizzard is quick to correct this misnomer. “Lieutenant Governor is more powerful, and they have a larger influence on how laws are made in Texas and how bills are passed,” Blizzard says.
Friends, family, and teachers all acknowledge that Blizzard has a very real chance at making his dream a reality. Blizzard recruited family and friends to work with him on the phone bank and the block walk. Blizzard’s passion for politics is well known by the other students at Bloomburg high school. They jokingly grin when they refer to him as the future president then quickly follow it up with, “no really, he probably will be our president.” Teachers have nothing but the highest praise for Blizzard who, when this was brought to his attention, quickly turned red saying he was flattered by their words.
The middle school history teacher, George McCasland (Mr. Mac), and Blizzard have continued a close relationship as he has moved into high school. Blizzard regularly visits Mr. Mac’s classroom to talk politics and history. For the last year, they have worked together on a list tracking the November campaigns throughout the country. “[Garrit] knows more about state politics than most adults,” McCasland said. McCasland began working at Bloomburg when Blizzard was in seventh grade. “I have never encountered a kid like Garrit,” McCasland said. Blizzard’s current and former teachers all acknowledge his expertise in history and politics. “It’s like having a fact checker in the classroom. If you’re going to say anything about any president, you need to make sure you are 100% correct” McCasland said. Blizzard even worked with McClasland to go back down to the middle school classroom and teach the younger students a history lesson.
As Blizzard and McCasland have continued their discussions over the years, McCasland has grown to appreciate more than just Blizzard’s passion for politics and history. McCasland’s tempered movements and speech grow more animated as he explains how he has watched Blizzard grow in his beliefs and mature as a person who is able to discuss a wide range of topics and belief systems. “That’s the coolest thing about Garrit; if he knows that you feel differently about issues, he is willing to sit down and bring you around to his side using logic, facts, and precedents,” McCasland said. “He is informed enough that even if you don’t agree with him, he can still make you see things his way.” McCasland also draws attention to how unique Garrit is among his peers. While Garrit is happy to interact with his classmates, he is also the kind of student who asks for a subscription to ancestry.com for his birthday.
While peers and teachers may think Blizzard stands out among the other students at Bloomburg, he doesn’t think of himself as an anomaly.
Blizzard believes that now more than ever teenagers are becoming more involved in politics. He sites the March For our Lives campaign that was led by teenagers and young adults. He emphasizes that although he and other teens are not old enough to vote, they can still think about how they will vote in the future and become involved in other ways. “These are potential future leaders, and they are already giving speeches on national television, so I think teenagers are getting more involved in politics,” Blizzard says. As the midterm elections come to a close, messages may get lost among the political banter, media frenzy, and dramatic political controversy, but despite all of this, America is still a place where anyone can become the President of the United States.