As our program year begins, we want you to get to know your Texas YG High School officers! Check back each week for a profile of one of these esteemed delegates. First up: Youth Governor Sharif Long!
What are some key issues you hope to highlight during your term as Governor?
Running for governor, my platform focused on the values of transparency, equality, and legacy. Within the program, I hope to continue to work with the State Office so that these values are exhibited in all things we do. As a delegate within the program, I’ve always noticed the harmony amongst delegates, as they respect the viewpoints of others. I want to continue to promote statesmanship at all YG conferences so that delegates understand to debate ideas, not the person.
Politics within our country have become polarized through recent events, and I hope that in our Youth Legislature, we can prove that our generation are not the leaders of tomorrow but of today, tackling and working together to resolve controversial issues such as immigration, criminal justice reform, education, health, and the environment. Often I feel as though we as passionate teenagers should actively reach out to our elected officials and initiate change within our communities and state.
Share a little bit about your experience attending the Governors’ Conference earlier this year.
The Youth Governors’ Conference is unlike any other conference I’ve experienced. Truly, this experience has helped me to have a better understanding of my role as the Texas Youth Governor and how best to execute my ideas for the growth and development of the program for the well-being of all its volunteers and participants. The most interesting part about Gov Con is its secretive elements, so I’m afraid I can’t give it all away! I can tell you that I met 44 of the brightest young minds in America who challenged me to be the best version of myself for the improvement of our Texas YG program and society. It was amazing to gain insight about how different all of our programs are and become empowered by our many differences.
What traits do you admire in other leaders?
I think John C. Maxwell describes a leader best: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” At Gov Con, I had the opportunity to room with Daven Turner, Youth Governor of Missouri. His warm hugs and genuine interest in getting to know his peers were things that all of the fellow members of my Gov Class admired most about him. Although he may be gone, his legacy lives on! Many leaders can have competence, but without a genuine interest in the people they serve, it’s difficult for leaders to understand where to take them and how to lead in a way to show followers the end result. This is the trait that Daven showcased best. Empowerment speaks volumes about a leader’s humility and helps others add value to the people they encounter, launching a “ripple effect.”
What are your educational and career plans moving forward?
I plan to apply to…the University of Texas at Austin for sure! Although government and politics have become a passion of mine, I’ve always wanted to have a career where I can serve people in some type of capacity. Combined with my interest in science, I’d like to major in Biology. Since I’m interested in going to medical school, I can major in anything as long as I take my prerequisite courses so music, history, and ethics have also been possible options. I’ve [considered] a job as an orthopedist, gerontologist, or possibly a general physician.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re taking a break from your Texas YG duties?
In my spare time (which I rarely have), I enjoy playing my tuba, listening to music, or getting together with friends for a game night. I’m not the best at card games, but my friends and I always have a great time battling it out. I’ve recently developed the hobby of letter writing. With so many YG friends around the country, I love to write them letters when I get the chance!
Thank you, Sharif!