Editor’s note: For this edition of 10 questions, The California Aggie sat down with Don Gibson, the president of Davis College Democrats who was a delegate at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
When did you first become involved in politics?
I first got involved in Democratic politics right as I came to UC Davis. I started campaigning at a local Democratic office – phone-calling senior [citizens and] asking them to vote – back in 2006.
How did you become a delegate?
Someone actually asked me to run. I was asked to run by a friend of mine in Sacramento. He was thinking, “Hey you’re a Clinton supporter, you’re young, you’re white, you’re a guy – all these demographics that aren’t the average Hillary Clinton supporter, so you should run and represent that side of the Democratic party.”
At the caucus site in Napa, I was able to get the majority of the votes for the male candidates…. I was just able to talk to [the uncommitted people] and convince them that I [would] faithfully vote for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic Convention.
As you were originally a delegate for Clinton, how did you feel when Obama was nominated for the Democratic presidential candidate?
Well, I cried for two days and then I started campaigning for Obama.
What was your most memorable moment from the Democratic National Convention?
It would probably be sitting 10 rows away from Barack Obama as he speaks to a crowd of 80,000 cheering fans.
In the course of your time at the convention, did you meet any notable people?
I would physically run into them in the elevator – Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles, the vice chair of the [California] democratic party, Alex Rooker, Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, Gavin Newsom, Jesse Jackson Jr., Dennis Kucinich, Ted Koppel, Howard Dean.
You are also president of the Davis College Democrats. What programs are you responsible for overseeing?
We have an annual fundraising goal of $4,000. We have a goal of registering 3,000 students by Oct. 19, and we have to get Barack Obama, and all Democrats down the slate, elected by maximizing the student turnout here on campus and within the Davis community.
How have you molded your academic program at UC Davis to mirror your political interests?
I’m a biotechnology major about to enter my third year, and my goal is to take the least number of classes possible during election season and drink a lot of coffee.
I don’t want to be a high school government teacher when I leave college. I find science very interesting; I find it one of the few truths we can have in our world, especially in politics. I hope to be involved in the biotech industry, beyond a lab research level position, so I can hopefully make, or so I can work with people who make, the life-saving drugs that will hopefully shape our society so that we can live to 150.
What do you think is the cause of young people’s apathy toward politics and voting?
I think that’s a misnomer, especially because [of what] we’ve seen [with] Barack Obama.… Young people are coming out in larger and larger amounts. The reason, I believe, is not simply because we’re mad about Bush or we like Obama, it’s because we have the ability to network, through Facebook [and] cell phones, at such an exponential rate now compared to what it was just 10 years ago. Simply because we now are reached out by campaigns, we won’t [necessarily] vote for them.
When you are not involved in politics, what do you like to do in your free time?
I’m a huge videogamer. I love my PC games.… The new game Spore is what is my most recent addiction.
Do you plan on pursuing work in politics after graduation?
If I don’t, I don’t know what else I would do with my life.
SARA JOHNSON can be reached at email@example.com.