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Hernando County teen already active in conservative politics

Jordan Baker, 14, helped to organize Hernando County’s National Day of Prayer last May and formed Conservative Christian Teens for America.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Jordan Baker, 14, helped to organize Hernando County’s National Day of Prayer last May and formed Conservative Christian Teens for America.

Anne Marie Baker says it was when her son Jordan was 10 that he first "got the bug" to become part of the political scene.

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He was helping his father, a lieutenant in law enforcement, get his boss re-elected.

"In Hillsborough County, Sheriff David Gee's election campaign, Jordan was involved by walking in parades, putting up signs, holding signs. From then on, he was interested in politics," said the mother of two. "I've been left behind in his dust."

Jordan, now 14, has been homeschooled by his mother since he was in the second grade. He lives just across the Hernando County border near Dade City, and his family is a part of Home Circle of Hernando, a homeschool support group. They are members of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville.

Jordan said his interest turned to action last year.

"I was always interested," he said. "It started while taking government class — just learning about it, getting to know our system and its history. Then the 2008 presidential campaign really got me into politics."

Jordan, who says he opposes a large federal government and supports states' rights and conservative values, worked in both Mike Huckabee's and John McCain's campaigns, distributing literature door to door.

He recently attended a "meet and greet" for Marco Rubio, the former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, and has plans to help with Rubio's run for the U.S. Senate seat recently vacated by Mel Martinez. He also plans to be a part of state Sen. Carey Baker's campaign for Florida agriculture commissioner next year.

"My goal is to get my friends and encourage them to go out and help get people elected and encourage people, even adults, to vote correctly, become good citizens and know the competition," Jordan said.

Jordan thinks it's important that everyone knows the country's foundations.

"A good citizen is someone who knows the constitution to their heart and knows what their rights are," he said. "When the government takes them away, you will know that and can go against them. Christians were asleep for so long, especially in the 20th century. We didn't say anything, and the government took over."

When Jordan learned that there was no one to organize events for the National Day of Prayer in Brooksville last May, he asked his mother to let him help her plan the event. Within eight days, they pulled an event together that involved 15 dignitaries and 12 churches. Jordan gathered a group of his friends to speak about the Founding Fathers.

That event inspired him to begin a group of his own.

With some guidance from Jason Sager, a local activist who began the Department of Constitutional Protection, Jordan and his mother launched Conservative Christian Teens for America in June.

Jordan says he wants the group to have an impact on his generation. The mission statement he wrote explains.

It begins: "God's Word declares that faith without action is useless; therefore Providence calls us to unite and educate, encourage and impact our American brothers and sisters to reclaim our Christian heritage."

The group, which includes Jordan's 11-year-old brother Zach, has already grown to 30 young people, ages 10 to 16.

Jordan agreed to be the group's president for a few months, though he wants the group to hold an election soon. Currently, Joshua Santerelli, 15, serves as vice president; Olivia Terlep, 16, is the secretary and Jay Manners, 14, is the sergeant-at-arms.

They meet two to four times monthly. One night is devoted to Gavel Club, an offshoot of Toastmasters that teaches the youths public speaking. Another night, Mrs. Baker teaches the teens civics and U.S. history, using a Christian-based curriculum.

The group has guest speakers. State Rep. Robert Schenck spoke a couple of weeks ago.

The teens perform community service and recently made arrangements with Operation PRIDE to do neighborhood cleanup in Hernando County in February. They also perform service for Hillside Community Baptist Church in exchange for the use of its facilities.

"In November, they're walking in the Brooksville Veterans Appreciation Parade, and we're working with Gifts from Home to make gift boxes for soldiers," Mrs. Baker said.

The Conservative Christian Teens' first grassroots venture is to promote the proposed Parental Rights Amendment in Congress. It would guarantee the rights of parents to raise and educate their children as they see fit. The group hopes to educate people and gather enough signatures to persuade U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite to cosponsor the bill.

Just entering high school this year, Jordan has already completed 91/2 high school credits. Every week, he serves as a lead attorney for Hernando Youth Court, prosecuting or defending those charged with first-time misdemeanors.

Jordan says he hopes to attend law school and someday practice constitutional law — and he might have an interest in running for public office.

"I think God is leading me in this direction," he said. "I'm just a kid who is really involved in politics and wants to show the truth to everyone. I can do all things through the God, who strengthens me, no matter what age."

Fast Facts

To join

Teenagers interested in joining Conservative Christian Teens for America may call (352) 457-7135. The group meets at Hillside Community Baptist Church east of Brooksville and in homes. Times and dates vary.

Hernando County teen already active in conservative politics 08/21/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 21, 2009 8:46pm]

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