Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
Jordan Apollo Pazell, 18, has worked for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign and was recently offered a job by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

He worked for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. When it ended, he worked for a high-profile Utah legislative campaign. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., just offered him a job. And he was elected as a Utah delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Oh, and he is just 18 years old.

In fact, Jordan Apollo Pazell of Copperton is the third youngest delegate nationally to the convention in Denver next week. He was edged out as the youngest candidate by two 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by Election Day.

So what does he do for fun — maybe play sports or music like other teenagers?

"Not really anything like that," he says. "For fun, I'm pretty involved in politics. This is fun for me."

Pazell said his family is not very political, and he doesn't remember when he started liking politics. But it was a long time ago. For example, he ran for the Copperton Town Council at age 16.

"They let me run because I was making a point, but the actual rules say you have to be 18," he said. Pazell said he was running to raise questions about what should be done with the old Bingham High School in Copperton that Kennecott was razing. He would be appointed to a committee that studied possibilities.

"Then I ran again (for the Copperton council) at 18 and lost by two votes," he said. "It's hard to get past the idea that because of my youth, I'm not as educated or not as serious. Standing up to a 71-year-old school teacher, I obviously look fairly inexperienced and not as qualified."

But Pazell has not let his youth stop him from being involved in issues both local and national.

As an example of a local issue he fought, he was concerned about how Copperton was split into some new voting districts — which forced some elderly residents to drive up to 14 miles to vote. "The voter turnout dropped," he said. "So I worked with the Salt Lake County Clerk's office to see if something could be done."

A solution was worked out to allow all Copperton residents, no matter their voting district, to vote in the community at one location. Pazell was scheduled to report on that success to the Copperton Town Council on Wednesday.

He's worked on bigger, national issues, too. "I worked for Hillary Clinton in Dubuque, Iowa, and Wendover, Nev.," helping in her primary election battles, he said.

In Dubuque, he helped get out supporters to the Iowa caucuses including rounding up multipassenger vans to "transport nuns from a convent so they could participate."

In Wendover, he said the Clinton campaign was short of workers to help in caucuses there. "The people in Wendover really didn't know how to run a caucus, so they turned it over to me and let me run it," he said.

"It was a great time. I have always looked up to Sen. Clinton, and President Clinton," he said. Pazell ran in Utah and was elected as a Clinton delegate to the national convention.

For a while after the Clinton campaign work, he worked at a more traditional student job at Starbuck's. "But I left that to work on the John Rendell campaign," the Democrat facing embattled state Rep. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan.

Pazell said he took the last year off from school, but is looking to attend either the University of Washington or the University of Utah. Meanwhile, he said he has been enjoying politics.

"I've always had a streak of activism. I've always felt you can't complain unless you are active and you make yourself heard and you do what you believe in," he said.


E-mail: lee@desnews.com