My name is Clayton Herbst. I am a 21 year-old political staffer from the great state of Missouri, focused on building a better future for all through building grassroots political power. Since my middle school years I have been volunteering in my community, working with candidates, and developing programs to empower my community for change.
When I was 15 years old I co-founded the international action initiative FIRST for All, later renamed Together in FIRST, a youth-powered advocacy organization dedicated to enhancing accessibility and inclusion for people of all ages in FIRST robotics. From elementary school participants to highschool facility improvements, from quiet rooms to closed captioning, from toddlers to adults as highschoolers we built an international collective dedicated to enhancing our robotics community.
At 16 I started The Herbst Movement, an online social campaign designed to engage and educate youth in politics, empower them to get involved in their local communities, and foster a space for healthy discourse. Within the first month the group went global, creating online mock-government structures and fostered camaraderie across political lines during a global pandemic. The organization grew to empower other young activists to take action and helped educate thousands of teenagers.
Also during this time I joined the Elad Gross for Missouri Attorney General Campaign as an intern. It was here that I found my passion for electoral changemaking. From the Elad Gross Campaign I interned in the Missouri House of Representatives with State Representatives Ladonna Appelbaum and Trish Gunby, along with Legislative Assistant Elisabeth Condon.
After graduating Summa Cum Laude from high school, I began my education as a Sibley Scholar at Lindenwood University. While majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in Pre-Law, and a triple minor in Economics, Psychology, and Digital Marketing, I also joined 13 on-campus organizations, became an officer in 6, President of 1, and campaigned for Student Government Director Academic Affairs, to which I was elected in 2022—all within my freshman year. In my Sophomore year I was proudly elect Student Body President, a role in which I currently serve.
Also during my freshman year at Lindenwood University I was hired as the Director of Social Media & Special Projects for the St. Charles County Democratic Central Committee, to which I was later appointed Executive Director for the 2022 electoral cycle. As a 2022 graduate of the Lead MO Staff Cohort, I lead the St. Charles County Democrats into a redistricting year campaign cycle, Post-Roe v. Wade, and post-pandemic.
While leading first-ever youth outreach programs, enhancing digital presences of candidates and organizations, modernizing voter contact methods and campaign styles, finding, developing, and managing over 600 volunteers, I worked alongside Senatorial, Congressional, State Senate, State House, Associate Circuit Judge, and County Council campaigns coordinating activity in the most competitive county in Missouri.
I am honored to have been nominated and appointed in 2023 to serve as the Township Committeeman representing the Lake Saint Louis township to the St. Charles County Democratic Central Committee. Also in 2023 I was awarded the Missouri Young Democrat of the Year Award.
For the 2024 electoral cycle I was hired as the Campaign Manager for Elad Gross for Attorney General. While my age may suggest inexperience, my youth has not been a barrier to my life’s mission: to build a better future for all through building grassroots political power of the people.