I had to laugh last year when Tim Eyman obliquely referred to the troika of me, activist Steve Zemke, and NW Progressive Institute founder Andrew Villeneuve as his “longtime opponents.” Steve and I had only been nipping at Tim’s heels for about a year; Andrew was the veteran of the group, launching his anti-Eyman website, Permanent Defense, back in February of 2002.
And here’s the funny part… what Tim didn’t realize was that the longest of his longtime opponents first entered the fray as a freshman in high school.
I often plug Andrew’s NW Progressive Blog and his incredibly useful Pacific NW Portal. What I don’t usually tell people is that he’s only 18. While Andrew never denies his age, he doesn’t promote it out of concern it might detract from his credibility. But since Frank Sennett dwells on Andrew’s youth in a column in today’s Spokane Spokesman-Review (“Young progressive schools state’s right wing“), I thought I’d take the opportunity to toss Andrew a compliment.
I am proud of the way Andrew has matured these past few years, both as a writer and an activist, and am honored to have had the opportunity to play some small role in his political education. Andrew’s dedication and energy is truly impressive — if at times annoying — and while I kinda wish he’d stop calling me at all hours of the day and night, I’d rather have a dozen Andrews incessantly badgering me than none at all… as long as they didn’t all have my cell phone number.
Even more impressive than his activism are his accomplishments. Lot’s of teenagers have energy to spare, but few channel it into something as constructive as Andrew’s multiple websites, all of which have played a role in influencing media coverage of political events. Sennett calls Andrew a “role model”, and the description is well deserved.