TROY — They aren’t old enough to vote, yet they still have an interest in politics.
Piqua High School sophomores Christian Starrett, Mason Darner and Julia Karn, signed out of school early for a chance to meet and greet relatives and friends of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump outside of K’s Hamburger Shop in downtown Troy on Friday afternoon.
While they may have walked away disappointed Friday afternoon, they each said they would “absolutely” try to see a member of the Trump family on Sunday.
Lara Trump, Eric Trump’s wife and daughter-in-law of Donald Trump; Lynne Patton, vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation; Omarosa, director of African American Outreach; and YouTube personalities Diamond and Silk were scheduled to stop at the downtown eatery Friday afternoon, but canceled to head to Wilmington for a rally at 4 p.m. instead. The group stopped for Starbucks at the Troy Kroger Marketplace and continued on its tour around 2 p.m. The campaign stopped at The Spot in Sidney around 1 p.m. Friday.
Missy Walters, southwest regional political director for Trump, assured those in attendance that Trump’s son, Donald Jr., would make an appearance in Troy at 4 p.m. Sunday. The location has not been determined as of press time.
Starrett, Darner and Karn said they would “absolutely” attend the rally on Sunday as well.
“I love Donald Trump. I support him 100 percent,” Starrett shared. “I like his views, his ideas … everything about him.”
Starrett said he became interested in politics through his parents.
“I wanted to see what his family was like because I heard a lot about them,” Karn said. “If we don’t start paying attention to politics now, we won’t understand it when we get older and able to vote.”
Darner said he came out Friday afternoon to support the Trump family.
“I really enjoy their standpoints on a lot of the somewhat controversial things happening in the country today — hopefully, we’ll get to call him ‘Mr. President,’” Darner said.
“Only four days left!” Starrett chimed in.
The teens shared how they are paying attention to today’s political climate to help shape their views when they can register to vote in a few years.
“I think it’s good to actually have knowledge to know what the candidates stand for and what each party stands for,” Starrett said.
“I enjoy the view of the different parties and how your life lines up with them,” Darner said. “I think (Trump) sticks to our rights as citizens — for example, for our Second Amendment right to bear arms, freedom of speech, and his free trade, and also I’m Catholic, so I’m really pro-life.”
The trio did get a chance to have an informal personal session with Sen. Bill Beagle, who stopped to chat with the teens outside the diner.
“It’s good to see you guys out here,” Beagle greeted the teens. Beagle asked each teen their graduation plans and shared what he’ll be working on, like the state budget, in 2017 and how it may affect them.
The teens managed to grab a selfie with the senator before heading home.
Lonnie Starrett, Christian’s dad, brought the teens to the campaign stop.
“They need to see what it’s about and it’s nice to see they are interested in politics,” the elder Starrett noted.
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Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews