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Reidy not afraid to take charge

November 29, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. -- Confidence oozes from Joseph Reidy.

When the 18-year-old Hedgesville High School senior talks about someday serving in the West Virginia State Senate, you tend to believe he will do it.

He already seems to have a firm understanding of diplomacy and has led on the field of play as captain of the school's soccer team. Off the field, he serves as vice president of his class and has taken other leadership roles on campus.

"The (soccer) program is growing, it's changing and I would say good things are going to come out of it," Reidy said. "We were a decent team with an awful record."

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In school, Reidy said he enjoys talking in front of people. He served for two years as host of the school's "Hometown Idol" and more recently emceed the school talent show.

After hearing Reidy's cursory view on the health care bill, which he began with a personal revelation about his 16-year-old brother's battle with diabetes, you get the feeling he's serious about entering the political arena.

"It puts a great strain on the family and I do relate to the need for reform, but I don't agree with the way that the (Sen. Max) Baucus bill seeks to reform," Reidy said.

Reidy said he leans to moderate Republican views -- for now.

"I think Winston Churchill said, 'if you're 21 and not a liberal, you have no heart, and 41 and not a conservative, you have no brain,' so I think right now I lean towards the moderate end of Republicanism, but we'll see. I don't know where that will go with age," Reidy said.

By becoming active in a number of student organizations and activities, including the Key Club, for which he is president, and the Model United Nations program, Reidy said he was able to "branch out" socially and get elected class vice president.

"I love people," said Reidy, who admitted he likes to think they love him, too. "I'm pretty outgoing and I make myself known. I really look forward to going to (West Virginia University) next year because when I came to Hedgesville, it was a challenge -- there's 1,700 people in this building. I want to be where I am now (at college) and WVU presents a bigger challenge for me."

After serving as a page in the state Senate chamber during the regular session of the Legislature in February, the allure of being a lawmaker stuck with him.

When given the opportunity to pass on advice to underclassmen who might aspire to leadership, Reidy doesn't hesitate to issue a challenge.

"Involve yourself -- you know, fill up that plate, put as much into your schedule as you can," he said. "So much goes on in this building, and the people who just go through and take their seven classes a day don't get the experience. There's so much more to going through here than just getting your classes over with and leaving."

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