Burr Ridge man is second youngest delegate for Democratic Convention
Zachary Carroll of Burr Ridge will be the second youngest delegate at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina.
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:05AM
BURR RIDGE — Zachary Carroll of Burr Ridge wasn’t old enough to vote when Barack Obama was elected in 2008. So the 20-year-old is doing everything he can to see that he’s elected again in 2012.
Carroll, a 2011 graduate of Hinsdale Central High School, is a 6th District delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
“It is just a dream opportunity,” said Carroll, who will spend the first week of September at the convention in North Carolina.
He said the job of a delegate is about more than nominating a candidate. It’s also about setting the party policy. He expects to cast his vote on the party’s policy regarding gay marriage and appropriations, among other things.
“We’re certainly happy to have him as part of the Illinois delegation,” said Steve Brown, spokesman for the Illinois Democratic Party.
Brown said Carroll is the second youngest person among the state’s 212 Democratic delegates.
“It is pretty unusual for people that young to be elected delegate,” he said.
Brown said the positions typically go to people with a longer involvement with the party.
Carroll said he started working as a volunteer with the Obama campaign at age 15. As a teenager he also founded the DuPage Young Democrats, became vice president of Hinsdale Central’s Citizen Club, president of the local Amnesty International chapter and a liberal columnist for The Advocate student newspaper.
It was during a gathering of the young Democrats group that Carroll first decided to pursue the role of delegate. A fellow young Democrat told Carroll his dedication to the party would make him an ideal candidate. And she was right.
A sophomore at American University in Washington, D.C., Carroll is spending his summer working for Tammy Duckworth’s congressional campaign.
He’ll return to school Aug. 23, but his campaigning will continue throughout the fall as he takes on the role of campaign director with the D.C. Federation of College Democrats.
“We’ll be going every weekend to a different state,” he said, campaigning not only for Obama, but for local Democrats as well.
“We’re going wherever they need us,” Carroll said.
With such a busy election season ahead, Carroll said he’s happy to have a relatively light class load this semester.
“My hardest class in Chinese,” he said, which will help him in his study of international relations.
He would like to go into trade policy, and is also studying economics.
“I’m really passionate about trade issues.”
And he’s passionate about the Democratic party.
Carroll’s first vote for president will be cast via an early absentee ballot before returning to Illinois to continue campaigning right through election night.