Young intern has high expectations

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At 14, Garret Hoff is already planning his future and has high ambitions in the worlds of politics and charity. Serving people is his mission in anyway he can find to do so and this summer he is in self-training with the help of two internships with Sen. Joel Anderson’s office and the Autism Tree Project Foundation. Heading into ninth grade, Hoff goes to Francis Parker School in Pt. Loma, the largest independent, non-denominational k-12 school in San Diego.

At 14, Garret Hoff is already planning his future and has high ambitions in the worlds of politics and charity. Serving people is his mission in anyway he can find to do so and this summer he is in self-training with the help of two internships with Sen. Joel Anderson’s office and the Autism Tree Project Foundation. Heading into ninth grade, Hoff goes to Francis Parker School in Pt. Loma, the largest independent, non-denominational k-12 school in San Diego.

Hoff began interning at Sen. Joel Anderson’s office in El Cajon three months ago. He had previously done a little work on the Kevin Faulconer mayoral campaign that gave him an idea of the forum of working in politics. This led to his search for political internships and he found a home at Anderson’s program.

“Politics has a direct impact on everybody,” he said. “It’s not necessarily just an impact on one person, it’s an impact on thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions of people. Having that power and letting everyone have a say in it you have to have an idea of what you want to say and what direction you want to take.”

Hoff said working with ATPF for seven years taught him the ability to appeal to people.

“I insistently know my base, know who is involved, and being able to please the people and talk with them,” he said. “Here at the senator’s office, what I am trying to learn more of is how to apply that to a political world. A world of autistic families are involved in the political world but the people that you need to get to the direction I want to go in are different people. They are extremely important and it is incredibly gratifying to get to talk and work with them, help them and serve them. If I want to get into politics and serve, I have to work in a political office.”

Hoff said he absolutely has aspirations of getting into politics. His plan is to go to law school and settle somewhere. He said it might be in San Diego, but it might be somewhere else due to the fact that California is extremely liberal and it is more difficult for the conservative to move up in the political world. That is why he chose Anderson’s office rather than a politician closer to home because Anderson is the closest state assemblyman or senator to him that is republican.

Hoff has also taken on the intern director at ATPF. He said this position came quickly to him, and in working as an intern in politics saw the benefits of having interns involved. But his involvement in ATPF is close and personal, because he is the son of the founding family and the reason ATPF came in to existence. The son of Todd and Dayna Hoff, they created the ATPF in 2003, when he was diagnosed with autism. Seeing a lack of resources for families with autistic children, they created ATPF as a resource for any family in need. For more than a decade now, ATPF has several programs that helps children with autism and their families find the resources they need for children anywhere on the autism spectrum.

“I am autistic, but I do a good job at keeping it away and am over the symptoms, so I can’t really call myself autistic anymore,” said Garret Hoff. “But I have kept working there, because it helps me as much as I was helping them. When I came to Anderson’s office it became clear that the interns do a lot of the background work and at ATPF they do not have interns to do these things. If there were more of me, more will be accomplished. It will make it easier on me, and the Foundation to have the added support. I am currently working on getting interns to work with the Foundation and expect to get much more work done through the summer. I am starting with some of my classmates that have not been involved in internships and the reception is going well. They recognize it as a great opportunity.”

Garret Hoff is working at Anderson’s office to complete 125 hours over the summer so he can participate in the elections in the fall. There is an assembly candidate he is looking at in his district that he believes has a good chance to win. But his ultimate goal is to get on a mid-term campaign.

“In school I’m considered the class conservative and I voice my opinions often,” he said. “You can’t turn your beliefs on and off like a light switch. 

Outside of politics and the Foundation he is a theatre enthusiast. He said theatre has helped him develop in the aspect of dealing with people.

“Before theatre, I was a bit rough around the edges when it came to dealing with people and it helped me sand those edges down,” he said.

When it comes to his political views, he said he did a lot of research on his own.

“I can say with confidence that I am this or that,” he said. “Many at my school that say they are liberal, just get it from their parents, but I am not like that. I have done my own research and came up with my positions on my own. I have a general philosophy that we should not be spending so much government money on people who are not doing things in return. Time and time again in history, even with president Kennedy, a democrat, say ‘ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ Democrats of today can’t do that. They are more welfare oriented, Obamacare, and those types of things which is not what I fundamentally agree with and the republicans have more sound principles.”