If studying for an electrical engineering degree doesn’t take up enough of his time, Kevin Ferguson currently is testing the political waters of the Alabama Democratic Party.
Despite his youth and busy schedule, the 2008 Gaston High graduate and Alabama A&M University senior believes that the time is now for his voice to be heard in the political arena.
Toward that end, Ferguson is running to be a delegate for the Alabama Congressional District 4, an area that includes Etowah, DeKalb, Marshall, Walker, Lawrence, Cullman, Blount, Tuscaloosa, Lamar and Franklin counties.
“I can’t run for public office yet, so I figured that this would be the next best way to get involved,” he said. “I’m really doing this to show other young people that we actually can play a part in the political process.”
If he wins the delegate spot, Ferguson will attend the Democratic National Convention during the week of Sept. 3 in Charlotte, S.C. The Democratic primary is scheduled for Mar. 13.
Ferguson isn’t deterred that many of his opponents are veteran public office holders such as city councilman, county commissioners and state representatives.
“Most of those folks have more name recognition than I do, but I take that as a challenge,” he said.
This isn’t Ferguson’s initial foray into the realm of national politics. As an A&M freshman in the fall of 2008, he worked as a volunteer of the Etowah County Democratic Party on President Barack Obama’s election campaign.
Ferguson first became interested in politics in the summer between his junior and senior year at Gaston when he attended a Boys State camp at the University of Alabama. It was during those several days in Tuscaloosa that he and other standout high school students learned the nuts and bolts of local and state government.
Ferguson used a common sense-based rationale in explaining his majoring in engineering on an academic scholarship instead of political science.
“I’ve always wanted a career in politics, but I wanted to make a decent living if I didn’t make it [in politics]. Engineers make good money, so I figured that was a good way to go. So if I ever do get voted out of office, I have a fall-back plan!”
A job in either field won’t happened in the near future, however, as Ferguson recently decided to attend law school, preferably at an Ivy League institution.
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“I won’t know where I’ll be going until after I take my LSAT in October, but I definitely want to g to a top 20 law school,” he said. Ferguson is on track to graduate A&M this December.
While at Gaston High, Ferguson was the Senior Class President; the Senior Beta Club President; a Key Club member; Math/Science Club member; a Sills USA member; a member of America’s Who’s Who; an Industrial Motors Control participant; a Boys and Girls Club employee; a Gadsden Chamber of Commerce student representative; a math class Student of the Month; a Z-93.1 Scholar-Athlete of the Week winner; a Bryant-Jordan Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award winner, a national Wendy’s High School Heisman candidate.
As a member of the Bulldogs’ varsity football team, Ferguson was named to the 2007 All-Etowah County team as a cornerback and was a team captain his senior year. He also donated his time to Snell Grove Civilian Center, the United Christian Church and Coosa Valley Health Care.
In addition, Ferguson somehow found the time to earn his Boy Scout Eagle Badge while a member of Troop 358 based in East Gadsden. For his final Eagle project, he built and installed a park bench in the James D. Martin Wildlife Park after community members made it known that they needed more a places to sit in the park.
Only four percent of all Boy Scouts make it to the Eagle level.
“I’ve had so many people help me along the way in the Boy Scouts, ever since I started out as a Cub,” said Ferguson “The scouts have affected me in so many ways, like leadership, teamwork and service to others. One of the best things I’ve learned from the scouts is to lift up and encourage other people.”
Ferguson picked up in Huntsville where he left off in North Gadsden. He has been on the A&M Dean’s List since he arrived at the Huntsville campus and currently serves as his Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity chapter president. He has interned both for Chevron of Pascagoula, Miss., and the U.S. Department of Energy in Albuquerque, N.M., Earlier this month Ferguson was featured in Source magazine as a University Leader for a Historical Black College.
City of Gadsden District 3 council member Robert Avery views Ferguson as an outstanding role model for area youths.
“I wish there was a way we could package everything Kevin’s got and give it to every kid around here,” said Avery. “He’s an exceptional individual who is very polite, very knowledgeable and very smart. I think very highly of him, and I’m just proud to know him.”
Ferguson accompanied Avery to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo., an experience that further cemented Ferguson’s interest in politics. Avery noted that the Alabama New South Coalition, Inc., of which Avery currently serves as president, would lend its support to Ferguson.
“That’s how much confidence and faith we have in Kevin,” said Avery. “He had the opportunity to meet quite a few people while we were out there, so he was excited this time around that he was old enough to run (for a delegate seat).”
Ferguson had a simple explanation as to why he feels that the time is right for him to jump into the political arena.
“I really feel that you can make time for the things that are important. I do all I can to be a selfless individual, and I’ve always wanted to give back to the community and help others.”