At the beginning of the year, I wrote a story about Chris Portman, former teenage mayor of Mercer, PA. He surprised the nation by gaining office at a young age, but shortly thereafter, he ditched the job out of frustration. He lacked the fortitude to stay the course.
Another election has come and gone, and now we have two more young mayors...some of the youngest ever elected.
The citizens of Linesville, PA have elected Chistopher R. Seeley. Hillsdale, MI residents elected Michael Sessions. Both mayors-elect are 18...barely.
In the words of Jerry Seinfeld: "Not that there's anything wrong with that!"
In a time where most youth only care about the latest Play Station or Xbox release, these young pols are stepping up to affect change. They care about their communities and they want to make a difference.
Behold the sweeping changes in PA, spearheaded by the Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania. When the state legislature gave itself a massive pay raise, the citizens were angry. But YCOP stepped up, raised money, and bought radio ads and billboards to shame the politicians into repealing the raise. Other groups and citizens joined in and the repeal is now underway.
Young people have passion. When properly harnessed, it can be a great tool for helping a community, a county, a state. The biggest hurdles are discipline and experience. Colleges are overrun with passionate people who have no frame of reference for their passions. They lack discipline and tact and trample on others to push an agenda. They are the stereotypical know-it-alls that give youth a bad name.
Best wishes to the new mayors and other young politicos around this great country. Have courage. Have fortitude. Take your time and deliberate issues. Seek guidance. Learn as much as you can. And never let some "old whippersnapper" tell you that you are too young to make a difference!