What it takes to be a teen politician
Nineteen-year-old Aziz Akbari is interviewed by a local television reporter.
November 5th, 2012
10:47 AM ET

What it takes to be a teen politician

By Tommy Andres, CNN

(CNN) – Most 18-year-olds are excited for election Tuesday because it will be their first chance to vote. Aziz Akbari is excited for a different reason: his name is on a ballot.

Akbari is a sophomore at the University of Southern California studying mechanical engineering, and this year he’s thrown his hat in the ring for mayor of his hometown of Fremont, California.

[:59] “I’ve been going to city council meetings since I was 8 years old,” Akbari says. “And I’ve been involved in local politics ever since then.”

Akbari campaigns from his dorm room all week with the help of his campaign staff, and flies home every weekend to go door-to-door, press the flesh, and push his four-point plan to boost Fremont’s economy.

But if Akbari is elected, he certainly won’t be the first teen to take charge of a city or a district.

John Tyler Hammons served two terms as mayor of Muskogee, Oklahoma after being elected as a college freshman, and Michael Sessions famously ran the city of Hillsdale, Michigan from his bedroom in his parents’ house as a high school senior.

Nick Kettle won a seat on the Rhode Island state senate at 19, but to garner support he had to go outside of his own home.

[3:15] “My parents were absolutely dead set against me running. I came home from declaring and my father screamed at me for like ten minutes saying, ‘why are you doing this? You have no platform. I’m not even going to vote for you.’ They thought I was absolutely crazy.”

Kettle, Hammons and Sessions all have advice for Akbari, and some reflections on their own time in office, as they share what it’s like to be a teenage politician.

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soundoff (2 Responses)
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    November 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • sputnick1

      you are a jerk

      November 6, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |