Two weeks after he turned 18, James (Jimmy) Loomis, Arts & Sciences Class of ’17, became Missouri’s youngest elected official. As the Clayton Township Democratic committeeman, he serves as a liaison between his township’s voters and the Democratic Party.
Loomis’ political life started in 2006, when he watched the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. “At the end, there was a call to action, and I figured I’m just as much responsible as anyone else for doing something to solve this problem,” Loomis says.
He was 12 when he successfully petitioned the Ladue City Council to create a municipal recycling program. In high school, Loomis joined political groups like the Missouri Progressive Action Group, helped on re-election campaigns for U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay and Sen. Claire McCaskill, and served as McCaskill’s Senate page in Washington, D.C. In 2014, he served as a campaign organizer for St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.
Loomis started at Washington University in fall 2013, and he is double-majoring in political science and Mandarin Chinese.
How did you get affiliated with the Democratic Party?
I don’t come from a background of Democrats, but when I was at an age when I could evaluate which political party aligned most with my views on issues, I determined that the Democratic Party came the closest. I proudly stand strong as a Democrat today because I believe in the inherent value of government as a force for good with the power to advance society forward in a way that other ideologies simply cannot.
Do you feel an extra special responsibility or burden in your position because of your youth?
Oh, definitely. First, it’s humbling just being so young and knowing that I represent politically active youth, and that my actions reflect on that greater perception of my cohorts. But I am also proving that I can play in the big leagues and am just as capable as anyone else. Though I might not be as experienced, I am still there for a reason, and it’s because I love what I do just as much as anyone else, young or old.
What do you think had the biggest impact on you politically?
Without a doubt serving as a Senate page. On TV you see so much dysfunction in Washington, with both parties seeming to share a mutual disdain for each other. But in reality, it’s amazing to see them slapping each other on the back, joking, laughing and working together a lot of the time. That’s not what’s reported. But if you go there and see it, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that you really have to appreciate.