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Modesto High senior has campaigned for Obama

Patrick Ip at the Democratic Convention in Denver
Patrick Ip at the Democratic Convention in Denver

Most people who know Patrick Ip know he is politically involved.

The newly-elected student body president of Modesto High, Patrick has held leadership positions throughout high school. The senior has also made his presidential pick for the 2008 election known.

As the current regional director for the national organization, Students for Barack Obama, he has kept his peers informed by coordinating events throughout Modesto. Patrick organized a fund-raiser and phone bank, Golf for Obama, that raised more than $500 and made 1,000 calls. He even attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August. Why is he so active in the political arena?

"I believe that it is important to know what is going on, as political actions directly affect us and our future," he said. "I don't believe that we should leave fate in other people's hands."

More specifically, he has chosen Obama because "he has the most bipartisan answers. Obama is willing to listen to others, even if they don't agree with him. For example, in a compassion forum that aired on April 13 on CNN, Obama was asked if he thought abortion was ethical. He responded that even though he personally doesn't believe in abortion, he believes that his job as president would be to make sure both sides have the opportunity to speak equally on the subject. That is the kind of leadership that we need right now."

Although at age 17 he can't yet vote, Patrick identifies most with the Democratic Party (he is a precinct captain for the Democratic National Committee) despite the fact that his parents are both Republicans.

"I am a religious progressive moderate who leans to the left," he said. "Although I don't think that the Democratic Party necessarily reflects my beliefs, it comes the closest. I believe in personal liberties, such as the right to an abortion, and I also believe that the government needs to protect us, such as with the economy deficit or the universal health care program. The point of government is to do the best for the people."

Patrick gets most of his information about politics from watching CNN and MSNBC, from listening to National Public Radio, and from the postings he receives on Obama's political stands due to his activity in the campaign.

Patrick believes that the economy is the most important issue facing America today.

"The United States is centered around the economy," he said. "When it is strong, we are looked up to, but when it is weak, we have a bad image and are looked down upon."

Rounding out his top priorities are domestic issues such as health care and taxes.

His top priority right now, though, is to help get Obama elected. "He is uniting the country around hope, change and the belief that we can have a better tomorrow," Patrick said.