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Illinois Democratic Delegate Writes of Senior's "Infectious Optimism and Passion for Politics and Public Service"

July 30, 2004

East College 07 Tulips.jpgJuly 30, 2004, Greencastle, Ind. - "This summer, I have had the pleasure of reuniting with a young man named Mike Zabelin," writes Juan Thomas, a delegate to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, in the Beacon News of suburban Chicago, Illinois. "Mike is a 2001 graduate of West Aurora High School who will enter his senior year at DePauw University in Indiana this fall ... I am writing about this young man today because I invited him to the Democratic National Convention with me this week, and I have enjoyed watching this 21-year-old young man's infectious optimism and passion for politics and public service during this week. Mike has taken this opportunity to meet and network with people from across the state that I know will prove beneficial to him as he grows."

Thomas -- an Aurora, Illinois, attorney who was once named one of Ebony magazine's "30 Leaders for the Future" -- notes that , a Management Fellow at DePauw, "is now on a first name basis with Lisa Madigan. Mike met Barack Obama on Tuesday right before his speech when they were both in line at a Dunkin Donuts. He has also met other politicos from Howard Dean to Dick Durbin, John Stroger, and Cardiss Collins. Mike has collected more political buttons, hats, and carry bags than I can count. Today, the message that was shared in our delegation meeting was to take the excitement and motivation from this week back to Illinois. I know exactly who can be one of our messengers."

Thomas asks, "What's the lesson for our youth? Live in and follow your passions. Mike has a love for politics that is special and wonderful to see. Live your dreams. He cares about his community and wants to serve and give back."

In summary, Thomas writes, "I attended my first DNC convention in 1992 in New York when I was 21 with the same level of excitement as Mike. Over the years, I have sometimes gotten discouraged and disappointed about politics and even at times second guessed the role I wanted to serve in politics. Mike reminded me this week of what this business is really about. Politics is about people. Politics is about our future. Politics is about our children. When you live in your passion, you inspire people to live in theirs. Mike, thank you for not just allowing me to inspire you; you have also inspired me. Remember the name Mike Zabelin. You will be hearing from him soon."

Access the column online by clicking here.

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