Alex Lalley, 15, stood before 1,400 people and asked a congressman if the U.S. president can legally kill Americans overseas without due process.
"He said if they are directly helping (terrorists), he can," Lalley said. "That's what I expected to hear."
The question was directed at U.S. Sen. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, last weekend during the International Students for Liberty Conference held in Washington, D.C. Lalley — a 9th grade student at Somerset Area School District and lifelong Somerset resident — attended the event with his parents, Donna and Kent Lalley, and his sister Janelle. The event was filmed for "Stossel," a weekly news show on the Fox Business station.
Lalley's presence and question at the conference demonstrated his keen interest in politics, an atypical trait for a teenager. He and his family also attended the Regional Students for Liberty Conference in Pittsburgh back in October.
"I like getting into economics," he said.
This interest began about two years ago. It grew, he said, out of concern for the future of the country.
"We were in a recession," he said. "I was reading about how to get us out of (it)."
According to Lalley, his interest brought him to the works of British philosopher John Stuart Mill and Ludwig von Mises, a champion of the Austrian school of economics.
These books have influenced him to think seriously about a political future. If elected to office someday, he said, he would push to lower the national debt, decrease taxes and stop the bailouts.
Lalley — an honors student enrolled in college credits through Penn Highlands — said becoming educated on topics like philosophy and economics has helped him as a member of the school forensics team and student congress.