In covering various candidates for the upcoming election, I discovered that both Scott Metzger, running for Lycoming County Commissioner, and Eric Beiter, running for Williamsport city mayor, have the same campaign manager. His name is Jacob Stopper from Loyalsock Township. It takes an exceptional person to manage two high-profile campaigns such as this, and he admits it keeps him very busy. However, this young man is up to the task. As a matter of fact, he is already planning his own U.S. Congressional campaign in the year 2030. Why is he waiting so long to run? Well, it is because the U.S. Constitution states that a person must be at least 21 years of age before running for Congress. Right now, Jacob Stopper is just 12 years old.
Little Jacob has had an uphill battle to climb ever since he was born. His mother, Elise Stopper, explains that Jacob was born very prematurely, and developed cerebral palsy, which impacts his fine motor skills, especially on his right side. He could not walk until the age of four. She and her husband Jim, have given wonderful care to their son, along with two older brothers, Michael, age 20 and in the U.S. Marine Corps, and Alex, age 17, who were both very involved in sports, are a very positive influence on their physically challenged brother.
When asked how he became campaign manager for the two candidates, Jacob noted that he has known the Beiter family “for many years” and got to know Scott Metzger as he was his coach in Little League Challenger Division, proudly noting that he plays shortstop. His body prevents him from doing many things, but even at a very early age, he did not focus on his limitations but used his mind to the best of his ability.
Jacob got interested in politics “at an early age” when he first picked up a book about Abraham Lincoln. He then began to read everything he could about presidents. In fact, he can rattle off all the presidents and virtually all of the vice presidents as well. I decided to test him by mentioning William Henry Harrison, who managed to die four months after his inauguration. Jacob not only knew about Harrison, he corrected me, noting that he died just one month after taking the oath of office, contracting pneumonia from the cold, wet day he was sworn in. (I checked it — he was right!)
His insatiable interest has caused the family to make visits to nearby Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon and Jefferson’s at Monticello, as well as more distant ones such as Jimmy Carter’s home in Georgia and Nixon’s in California. His dream is to visit every presidential library in the country. Jacob had a chance to see President Trump at the White House when he attended the White House Easter Egg Roll in April of last year but did not get to meet him, although he was able to meet and get a picture with then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Jacob’s “political involvement” started on a family vacation in the summer of 2016, when Jacob was just nine years old. The National Convention for the Republican Party was on television, and as Jacob watched, he became rather fascinated with this man, Donald Trump. But, being the rational person that he is, Jacob decided he had to watch the Democratic National Convention before deciding who had the better positions on the issues. After it was over, he turned to his mother and announced that he was a Republican. The rest, as they say, is history.
Jacob Stopper has been an inspiration to his community. He has particularly been fascinated with policemen, attending the Williamsport Police Open House in May 2016 dressed head to toe in a police uniform, and named a Junior Constable by Loyalsock Township Constable Steven Bowman in June of 2017. Initially leaning toward a career in law enforcement, he is now realizing his calling is in public service. His life plan is after a long career as a U.S. Congressman (he does NOT believe in term limits), he will run for Senate, and then Vice President, and then President. After this, he sees himself becoming Governor of Pennsylvania (which could come before he becomes Vice President, Jacob is flexible) and then finally retiring as President of the Virgin Islands.
Smile if you want, but this young guy has an unbelievable vocabulary, a wealth of knowledge at his fingertips, and does not communicate like any 12-year-old I have ever met. He knows his limitations but looks to President Franklin D. Roosevelt for inspiration. If he could do it, says Jacob, so can I. For my money, I wouldn’t bet against him.