It’s probably a little early, but Stephonn Alcorn has a formal announcement to make.
He’s running for president – not until 2036, but still, he’s running for U.S. President.
The Gardner Edgerton High School senior dedicated himself to becoming president when he was in third grade.
“I read a book about JFK, and that kind of sparked the interest in my mind from there,” he said. “I decided I wanted to be President.”
He serves as student body president at GEHS, but the Oval Office is his ultimate goal. While other high school students may have posters of the latest heart throb or their favorite bands, Alcorn’s walls are different.
“I have a poster of all of the presidents on my wall, and I put ‘x’s on the ones I think did a bad job,” Alcorn said. A poster of his favorite president, John F. Kennedy, also graces his wall along with the quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
Kennedy embodied the modern idea of the presidency, Alcorn said.
“He definitely wasn’t the perfect man, but he was a great politician,” Alcorn said. “He brought class to the White House.”
He’s fairly certain he’ll be the Democratic candidate in 2036, but naming a political party is tricky. He comes from a split family.
“If you drive past my house, you’ll see a Romney/Ryan sign and then right behind it, an Obama/Biden sign,” he said. “We’re kind of a house divided.”
The rift shows in Alcorn’s politics.
If he were old enough to vote in the 2012 election, he would vote for President Obama. However, he says he is a big free market supporter, more in line with Gov. Mitt Romney’s philosophy on the topic.
And while Alcorn believes entitlement programs like welfare need to eliminate fraud and waste, he thinks the programs are important. Alcorn said he comes from a very middle class family that has occasionally struggled.
“I’ve seen my parents struggle to pay the bills. I don’t think the government should do everything for people, but they should do what they can to help out,” he explained.
It’s kind of like public education, according to Alcorn.
“Even if you don’t have kids in that district, you still have to pay the taxes,” he said.
He’s put in time on Republican campaigns, volunteering for Republican Mayor Dave Drovetta. But he’s also recently worked on Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign in Missouri
When he learned President Obama was going to give a speech in Osawatomie, Kan., this year. Alcorn was in the audience. He met the President’s chief of staff and passed along a photo of himself in front of the White House with a note on the back for the President.
“He sent me back a note,” he said.
The signature looks real.
“It may have been a stamp, but the one from the Bushes have the real signature for sure,” Alcorn said.
He received a signed photo of President George W. Bush and Laura in the mail. Both letters, Alcorn explained, basically say the same thing: Thank you for being involved and we need more young people interested in politics.
One day, Alcorn hopes to be signing letters to politically minded youths from the Oval Office.
In the meantime, he plans to attend college either in New York, at New York University or at American University in Washington, D.C. He’ll major in international relations and political science.
From there, he plans to go to law school and eventually run for Governor of a state. It probably won’t be Kansas, though. His interests will probably mean he starts his career on the east coast.
He doesn’t think his path to the White House will run through the U.S. Congress.
“Congress hasn’t really done much. There’s just this arguing and bickering and bi-partisanship,” he said. “I don’t think I’d ever want to be a part of something that was going to be like that.”
Governors, Alcorn said, get executive experience that would serve him well when he makes the leap to national politics.
This interview occurred before the General Election, but Alcorn has similar advice to whichever candidate is in office on Jan. 21, 2013.
“I just hope that they keep our country in mind in every decision they make — placing America first, not their party,” Alcorn said.