CARSON CITY — Ryder Haag is in for a busy summer.
The Reno High School senior will graduate next month. In July he heads to Cleveland, where he’ll take his seat with the Nevada delegation on the floor of the National Republican Convention as one of the youngest delegates to a national political convention.
And it all started with an assignment in his high school government class. Haag, who turned 19 in early May, needed to complete two hours of participating in the political process as a class requirement.
He ended up volunteering for Joe Heck’s U.S. Senate campaign.
“When I actually got into it, I saw that I loved it,” Haag said in a phone interview. He’s also been volunteering with other campaigns and Republican efforts.
“My favorite part about it is being able to connect with people,” he said. “You actually get to talk to the people in your community about the important things they value in their lives.”
Haag said he was aDonald Trump delegate at the state convention because that was decision of the precinct that elected him.
“I wasn’t voting on my personal preference; I was voting on my precinct’s decision,” he said, adding that because they elected him it was the right thing to do.
“The majority voted for Donald Trump … so I threw my whole weight and support behind him.”
Haag said there are some things Trump could do to expand his appeal among voters.
“He could possibly tone down some of the things he does say,” Haag said, but conceded the presumptive GOP nominee’s brash outspokenness is one reason a lot of people like him.
“He says things that a normal politician wouldn’t,” he said
Victoria Crockett, a friend of the young Republican, has started a GoFundMe page to help Haag raise $3,000 for the trip to Cleveland. Haag said he’s been saving money from his part-time job at a courtesy clerk at Raley’s.
His family couldn’t afford to make the trip with him, and Haag said he’s not old enough to rent a car. Crockett will go with him and pay her own expenses.
Haag said he’s grateful to everyone, Republicans and Democrats, who has helped him along the way.
Haag will attend the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall, and said he plans to study political science. And he hopes to convince more people, especially young people, to become involved in the political process.
“When I got to doors or I’m canvassing,” he said, “I’ll have people say, ‘I’m not interested in politics and I don’t vote.’”
He wants to change that outlook.
“These are things that are truly going to affect them,” he said. “I would hope, no matter what party you’re involved in, young people get involved because in the end it is really us who are going to be leading this nation.”