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Learning the political ropes at a young age

Alton youngster getting active in politics while still six years from being able to vote

HUDSON INGOLDSBY of Alton is surrounded by members of the press as they try to get a shot of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney during Amherst’s Fourth of July parade on Monday. Courtesy Photo. (click for larger version)
July 06, 2011
ALTON — If Hudson Ingoldsby ever decides he wants to go into politics in the future, he has a good foundation on which to base his pursuit.

The 12-year-old Alton resident has been a fixture at Republican events all over the state over the last few years, meeting presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and Senator Kelly Ayotte, among others, while also getting a number of great opportunities not often afforded a young kid.

Ingoldsby was pulled into politics after hearing about problems facing the country on the news and decided he wanted to get involved and find a way to fix things that he believed could use fixing.

"And it just went on from there," Ingoldsby said.

He became particularly interested during the last Presidential Primary, which is always an exciting time in the Granite State, with candidates criss-crossing the state in the constant search for votes.

Ingoldsby's favorite candidate was Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who was a frontrunner in the 2008 Republican primary and promises to be in the same position as the 2012 campaign kicks into high gear.

"I like his speeches," Ingoldsby said. "They make you want to be an American and proud to be an American.

"I like the way he wants to fix the job losses and the economy," the youngster continued.

As the youngster has moved along through the political scene, he met up with Andy Leach of the New Hampshire GOP, who now works for Senator Ayotte, and Ryan Williams, also of the New Hampshire GOP, who now works for Romney's campaign. Those two contacts have helped him get into numerous events, including major fundraising events in Carroll County and the New Hampshire Republican Convention, but quite possibly the highlight of his burgeoning political career came when Romney made his run for the White House in 2012 official a few months ago in Stratham.

Ingoldsby sent a letter to Romney prior to the event and Williams, recognizing the youngster from numerous events along the way, asked if he would be interested in saying the Pledge of Allegiance at the event, which was held at Scamman Farm in Stratham.

So, with media members from all over the nation crowded in front of the stage, Ingoldsby took the spotlight prior to Romney's big speech.

The youngster admitted that all the cameras crowding in front of the stage were a bit intimidating, but he got through it and was excited for the chance.

The photo of Ingoldsby reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, along with a statement from the Alton student, was featured prominently on the Romney Web site for a number of weeks after the event.

Ingoldsby also got a rare chance to get into the recent debate featuring many of the Republican candidates. He had attended WMUR's Conversations with the Candidates and met Rick Santorum and Gary Johnson and the producers from CNN contacted him and asked if he'd like to get in on the debate when it came up.

The youngster's mother, Judy, said it's great to see her son take an interest in something so important while also praising many of the people he's met along his journey.

"He has enjoyed himself and he's met a lot of great people along the way," Judy Ingoldsby said.

The Alton Central School student was planning on marching with Romney in Independence Day parades in Amherst and Laconia and was also hoping to help out at Romney headquarters at some point during the campaign, though he knows jobs for 12-year-olds may be a little tough to find at times in a busy campaign office.

And Ingoldsby can also say that he's seen both sides of politics. While he's met some great people and got to know some candidates, he's also seen the negative side of things.

The photo of the youngster ran on Romney's Facebook page and there were a lot of negative comments from people not agreeing with Romney's stance on many issues.

"It looks like a lot of fun, but it can turn around real quick," he said of the political scene.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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