It’s a safe bet to say that most eighteen-year-olds today have to constantly decide on which movies to see on the weekends and which selfies work best on their Instagram feed, but at this age, Jamarcus Dove-Simmons has gone on to make a name for himself in the town of Spartanburg, South Carolina.
As a young black conservative, he has been featured in articles like The Daily Signal. What started off as another social studies class assignment went on to have an astonishing domino effect that started him on a life trajectory that has already landed him a White House visit with President Donald Trump.
Our Candidates.Vote writer Karen Salazar had the opportunity to sit down and chat with this introspective up-and-coming Gen Z leader.
Candidates.Vote – The article that I read where you were mentioned, it stated you were seventeen, which is young for someone to be involved in politics. At your young age; why did you feel the necessity to be involved politically?
Jamarcus Dove-Simmons – I’m eighteen now, but I started my political journey at the age of fifteen or sixteen, and so when I got into it, a lot of people were telling me because I was in middle school; you can’t even vote, you can’t do anything in politics. I was already having doubters. I thought, I’m still going to go through with it, I’m still going to do this, even though I was young. So one of the things I can say is; if anyone wants to get into politics being young, I encourage them. When you can start thinking on your own and start making your own decisions, I feel like that’s a useful age.
Candidates.Vote – Is there any person, in particular, you would say gave you this push to get into politics or was it more in terms of your own account?
Jamarcus Dove-Simmons – I think what pushed me towards it was in seventh grade, we were learning about the parties in social studies. We had to pick a party and explain why we picked that party. I picked the Democratic Party; and my teacher came to me and asked me, “Jamarcus why did you pick the Democratic Party?” I said, because I’m black, that’s the thing that you do. President Obama is black, he’s a Democrat. And my teacher, she is a strong Democrat, so she was like, I want you to go home and do the research on the political parties. I had already made up my mind on what I was going to say — I’m black and I’m a Democrat. So I went home that night and I started researching up things and I was like, wow, I did not believe in the majority of the things they were saying, but then with the Conservative/Republican platform, I agreed with many things. I did not agree with everything, but I did with most of it.
Candidates.Vote – Have people in your life, learned to become accepting or more tolerant of your beliefs?
Jamarcus Dove-Simmons – I would call myself a Conservative-Libertarian. I still have some family members who still can’t accept that. When I started wearing MAGA gear, political shirts, and sweatshirts, everyone in my family thought I was going through a phase. When I got invited to the White House in February by President Trump, I posted my invitation on my social media accounts; people were like, you really are going to this thing? My family supports it, now most of my friends support me. They’re like, hey, we don’t agree with you but you’re the first one in the family that is making it this big. I come from a family of hard-working people and never in their lives would they have thought to see a family member get invited to the White House.
Candidates.Vote – My next question is about your White House visit. What stood out to you as being memorable in taking part in that experience?
Jamarcus Dove-Simmons – I think the one thing that stuck with me the most was that President Trump invited ordinary people. I think that was what stood out to me the most. He invited me, Jamarcus. Nobody had heard of me outside of Spartanburg. He invited ordinary people from all over the country, and said, let’s get together, let’s eat dinner, lets bond together. That’s what stuck out to me the most, that he cares about ordinary people.
Candidates.Vote – When you were younger, did you see yourself going into politics? Did you ever imagine yourself doing something else?
Jamarcus Dove-Simmons – I really didn’t care about politics at all. When I heard about politics, my mind brought up people sitting around a table. I didn’t really care, what I really wanted to do was law enforcement. Law enforcement was a big thing in my life because my mother was in law enforcement. Anytime anyone asked what I wanted to do, I would say, I want to be like my mom, I want to be a cop.
Candidates.Vote – Which university do you see yourself attending and why?
Jamarcus Dove-Simmons – I see myself attending, either Wofford College, if I don’t feel like going into Wofford, I think the next school I would want to go to is Liberty University.
Candidates.Vote – Any favorite book you enjoy or that has made an impact on you?
Jamarcus Dove-Simmons – My favorite book would probably be Harry Potter.
Candidates.Vote – You’re from the South, there’s lots of delicious food in that region, what is your favorite southern dish?
Jamarcus Dove-Simmons – I would probably have to go with Fried chicken and sweet potatoes.
Candidates.Vote – Were you able to eat this for Thanksgiving?
Jamarcus Dove-Simmons – Yes, I ate a lot of it!
Candidates.Vote – What is the best advice you have received from someone?
Jamarcus Dove-Simmons – The best advice I received from someone would probably be from my late first love. She passed away last year in October. I think the best advice I received from her was when we went on a date together. The thing I would take away from what she said, I’m always going to be by your side. The reason I have not left you is that you have big goals. You have big dreams for a tenth grader. She said, continue to do you, even when people do not agree with you, stand firmly on what you believe in. That has impacted my life a lot. I’m a Christian, so I think that’s another thing, to keep my faith in God. I wouldn’t have made it to the White House if I didn’t continue to keep my faith.
Candidates.Vote – What is one message you want to share with young people?
Jamarcus Dove-Simmons – I think the message I want to share is, just go hard in whatever you want are in. If you are a faithful believer, keep faith in whatever you do. I remember at one point in time, I wanted to give up in politics before the White House visit because I was being slandered at school; death threats were coming to me. I was getting phone calls at two in the morning from people that were threatening me, saying they were coming to get me because of my support for the President. I really wanted to give up at that point. I made a prayer and two days later, I got my invitation to go to the White House. It was a big deal in my city, I was getting praise from city council members. So, at church on Sunday, it was jammed packed, the pastor said, I know you’ve been through a lot of slanders and I know you wanted to give up.
Whether you are into art, dancing, cooking, whatever your talent is, work hard for it, don’t quit. Whatever people say who try to put you down, you have to say no and say, I got this.