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Editorial: Youths’ interest in local government a breath of fresh air

Published 8:57pm Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Twenty-five year old Michael Squier shook up the Niles mayoral election Monday when he filed as a write-in candidate in the now four-man race.

It’s the most recent development in a youth movement in local government. Niles resident Zach Perkins, 28, turned some heads in November when he upset incumbent John Klimek for the 13th District county commissioner post. Meanwhile, 20-year-old David Mann is the only candidate for the 3rd Ward city council seat and will likely become the youngest council member in city history.

While it’s unclear if these young, ambitious politicians have enough experience and wisdom to effectively make important budget decisions, it’s a breath of fresh air to see young people becoming involved in their community.

Maybe these young leaders will reverse abysmal voter turnout, especially among young people. Only 27 percent of registered voters in Niles Township showed up to the polls in 2010, while only 23.3 percent in the city of Niles cast their ballots.

With seeing a number of area youth making negative headlines recently, it’s encouraging to see some young adults active in trying to improve the community.

While Perkins and Mann don’t have any experience in local government, it will be interesting to see if they can bring some fresh, creative ideas to the table or at the very least spark some interest among people their age in what’s going on at the city and county levels.

This editorial reflects the views of the Niles Daily Star editorial board.

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