He can’t buy a beer. He can’t drive a car. But 14-year-old Joey Yacovone can launch his own political action committee to influence Massachusetts politics.
Last week, the new PAC, Youth Conservatives of Massachusetts Political Action Committee, was officially organized, with Yacovone as its chairman.
The idea for the PAC came about last year when Yacovone and some friends were volunteering for Republican Gabriel Gomez’s US Senate effort, the East Longmeadow teenager said in a telephone interview.
“We just wanted to form a group to get everyone who shares our beliefs together ... for helping the right candidates,” he said. “Then we decided we were going to go to the statewide level,” thus, the PAC.
He said the group planned to help a number of candidates this year, including a state senator, a candidate for Hampden County District Attorney, and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Baker, among others.
While he said the PAC probably wouldn’t be making a lot of big donations, he said he expected the young people involved with it to volunteer time in support of candidates they support.
But Yacovone has a bigger mission in mind.
“We need to get more of the youth involved in these campaigns,” he said. “We want to make sure the upcoming generations know about government, get their views more developed and will vote for the right candidate based on their views.”
As for his own political beliefs, the 14-year-old said he is a Republican but thinks “both parties have done a bad job at representing the people.” The only way stuff gets done, he explained, was by everyone budging a little on their positions.
Yacovone said there were about 30 “heavily active” young people in the group, ranging in age from 10 to 19. He conceded the PAC had gotten a little adult help to get paperwork filed, but said his parents are not involved in politics at all.
Jason Tait, a spokesman for the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance said there is no statute addressing age in campaign finance law. Indeed, he said, “a minor can solicit and receive campaign contributions for a political action committee that he runs.”
Still, Yacovone may find he has less time for political activities after the summer ends: he starts high school in the fall.