Men's Health (USA)

YOUNG CONSERVATI­VE AND UNAFRAID

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ELECTED TO the West Virginia House of Delegates as a Republican in 2018, Caleb Hanna took office in early 2019 as one of the country’s youngest state legislator­s—ever. He’s also a conservati­ve, which makes him something of a rarity in an otherwise progressiv­e generation. The Pew Research Center reports that only 30 percent of Gen Zers approve of Donald Trump’s performanc­e as president—lower than the national rating. (Just 14 percent of Black people approve of Trump.) Hanna, meanwhile, supports Trump, occasional­ly liking and retweeting his tweets. Hanna says his interest in politics actually began with Barack Obama. In 2008, “I saw this charismati­c Black man. If he could do it, I could do it.” Then his father lost his coal-mining job, which Hanna attributes in part to Obama’s clean-air policies.

“It made me align my ideology.” No doubt Hanna has faced criticism. “America has a polarizati­on issue,” he says. “We can’t simply exclude, ignore, or cancel someone because they’re looking at the world from a different angle.” Here’s how he’s defended himself amid that polarizati­on.

“I responded by saying that the position I was running for had nothing to do with my age, but with how hard I was willing to work and how much I wanted to see our state succeed.”

“After I won, I got the criticism that I’d become a follower instead of thinking independen­tly. I just went out there and proved them wrong. I charted my own path and followed it.”

“I made up for the cash deficiency by going out and knocking on countless doors and talking to thousands of people. Meeting someone is free.”

“One of the biggest steps I have taken to making my voice heard is registerin­g to vote. I don’t think there’s a more impactful way to voice your opinion than at the polls.” —Elizabeth Okosun

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