Young Democrat focuses on service

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Wilson: ‘You can’t learn anything if you are doing all the talking all the time'

By Becca Owsley

As president of the Lincoln Trail Young Democrats, Michael Wilson of Magnolia stresses community service and bipartisan cooperation.


“Anyone engaged in politics should have a friend like Michael Wilson,” said Pete Countryman, publicity chairman of the Republican Party of Hardin County.

Countryman said even though they sometimes disagree, he can discuss politics, policy and issues with Wilson and “remain agreeable.”

Respectful communication is part of Wilson’s goal for the young Democrats. While the 28-year-old is more progressive, some members’ ideas lean farther left, but they still can get together and talk about issues.

He wants the group to go beyond discussing ideas and help in the community. The group’s 2012 fundraiser brought in $1,200 for classroom supplies for Hardin County Schools. This year’s event, scheduled for Aug. 1, raises money for CASA of the Heartland.

Under Wilson’s leadership, the group was honored as the Outstanding Chapter of the Year in Kentucky in 2012, just one year after it was chartered.

Wilson said he is surrounded by young talent in the organization and his job is to manage that talent.

“I don’t necessarily see myself, by any means, (as) the smartest person in the group, but I enjoy listening to a lot of great people and try to bring all those great minds together,” he said.

Listening is key, he said.

“You can’t learn anything if you are doing all the talking all the time,” he said.

Countryman was a guest at one of the meetings.

“Michael, presiding as president, engages the membership, encourages participation in all aspects of the chapter’s endeavors and, most important, is inclusive,” Countryman said, adding Wilson values each member.

Wilson also is the Kentucky Young Democrats Vice President for programming and is involved in the New Leaders Council.

His involvement in politics comes from a compassion for others he gained from his upbringing.

He realized even though he came from humble means there always was something to contribute to the community. In his early 20s, he volunteered at Warm Blessings and realized being compassionate to others is easy to do because everyone struggles.

Wilson also realized sometimes change needs to happen with public policy.

He doesn’t consider himself liberal, but feels the Democratic Party fell in line with his ideology. He wanted to figure out why politicians made the decisions they made and became frustrated, even in his own party. There were times when no one was being held accountable, he said.

While he has no ambitions to hold political office, he would like to be on a staff someday to hold a politician accountable. Wilson said too many times politicians don’t have a person who tells them “no,” and are surrounded by yes-men. He wants to be the type who can help someone look at all angles to see what effects a decision might have in the long run.

Wilson also is working on a degree in accounting at Western Kentucky University. He joked he’s on the 10- to 11-year college plan.

When he first graduated from high school, he went to college for a few years and realized he didn’t know what he wanted to do. Knowing the value of money, he didn’t want to waste his on college until he figured out what he wanted to pursue.

He now is a year away from graduating and has the hours to take the CPA exam.

Wilson noticed a lot of younger students in his classes only are there because their parents made them and they aren’t getting all they can from their courses.

As an older student, Wilson is able to appreciate what he is learning and take his time with it. It’s not always easy to work full time and fit in classes and studying, but Wilson said he brings more life lessons into what he is learning.

Sometimes, he said, students are too rushed to get through their education and need to commit themselves to taking their time.

He does admit he doesn’t connect as well to some younger students, realizing he’s older than he thought he was.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Getting to know Michael Wilson

  • Family: His parents, Bill and Connie, and a sister.
  • Music: Classic rock and alternative rock.
  • Actor: Jack Nicholson
  • Pet: Westie named Bella
  • TV: “Scandal” and shows from the FX network such as “Rescue Me”
  • Favorite national political figure: Bill Clinton
  • Favorite historical political figures: Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Roosevelt
  • Mentor: When Wilson became involved in politics, Les Dawson, former chairmen of the local Democratic Party, took Wilson to events and introduced him to others. Wilson considers him a teacher who changed his life for the better. “I still talk to him every day,” Wilson said. “He’s 83 years old and one of the best friends I have.”

If you go

The Lincoln Trail Young Democrats and Hardin County PVA Danny Hutcherson host the second charity trivia night to benefit CASA of the Heartland on Aug. 1 at Stone Hearth in Elizabethtown. Cost is $125.00 per team of four; dinner buffet available. To learn more about the Lincoln Trail Young Democrats, email lincolntrailyoungdems@gmail.com or find them on Facebook.