When Jimmy Loomis III was in fifth grade, he watched a movie that would spur him toward a life of community involvement. The movie was An Inconvenient Truth, and the moment took place just seven years ago. Called to action by the film’s message about climate change and its consequences, the then 10-year-old stood before the Ladue City Council and successfully proposed the creation of a municipal recycling program. “That’s when I first became really interested in politics,” he recalls. “I realized that no matter who you are, what you have and where you come from, you can make a difference. I was able to witness actual change taking place and that has motivated me ever since.”
At just 17 years old, Loomis already is well on his way toward a flourishing political career. The Ladue High School senior has left behind the regular extracurriculars for extensive community involvement, becoming a member of the Missouri Progressive Action Group, Creve Coeur Township Democratic Club and West County Democrats, as well as secretary for Missouri Congressman William Lacy Clay’s First Congressional Youth Congress. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. With a desire to gain experience beyond the political organization realm, Loomis recently served as a congressional intern for Clay’s office, as well as worked on both Clay’s and Sen. Claire McCaskill’s re-election campaigns. “It was a great opportunity to interact with a diversity of government departments—at federal, state and local levels—as an intern, and then seeing another side of the political spectrum and what it takes to run a campaign,” he says.
But even more impressive was the opportunity to serve as a U.S. Senate Page for Sen. McCaskill last June. Loomis was chosen as one of only 30 pages in the nation, giving him the chance to “see the world’s greatest deliberative body and its inner workings up close,” he explains. “Only senators, pages and clerks are allowed on the Senate floor, so it was a really amazing experience.”
That intimate view allowed Loomis to witness the work of the government, including the passing of the Farm and Transportation Bills, beyond what is seen on the nightly news. “We see Washington through the media as a broken, dysfunctional place where nothing gets fixed. Call me naïve, but I learned that Washington is very much alive. Those bills were remarkable pieces of legislation that passed with bipartisan support, and I like to think of that as a hint of optimism for the future.”
And Loomis is very passionate about the future of the country. Along with his concern for energy and the environment that stems from the beginning of his political work, he understands threat of the federal debt and deficit to the nation. “It’s going to take a new generation of political leaders to fix those issues, but if we can, America will again be looked upon as the steward of the world that other nations look to for leadership.”
Loomis hopes to be part of that new generation of political leaders. He will attend Washington University next year, majoring in political science and Mandarin Chinese, which he has taken classes in for six years, including three spent at the undergraduate level at Washington University. He manages to balance his school work with his investment in public service; a skill that he will continue to utilize in college as he has plans to pursue a position as a Clayton Township committeeman if the office is still vacant when he turns 19. “As former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once said, All politics are local. If that opportunity is afforded me, I will take it and run,” Loomis says.
The ambitious teenage son of Dr. James Loomis II and Susan Moriconi isn’t left with much free time, but the little he has is spent golfing, reading, collecting coins and stamps and doing genealogical research. He also takes the time to write letters to prominent political figures, asking for advice. Replies from President Barack Obama, former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, as well as leaders like Henry Kissinger, Bob Dole and John McCain, cover the walls of Loomis’ bedroom. He often reads them in the mornings before he sets out on another day of working toward his objective of making a difference in the world, motivated by the words of wisdom shared by people like Dole: My advice is to never give up. Set your goals and work hard every day to overcome the obstacles that might keep you from your dream.