This is Ishan Shah and he is sixteen years old. He has announced his candidacy for Fremont, California City Council. Read more about it below, see photos and a video.
A group of teenagers – all good friends – are hanging out at a coffee shop on a Friday night discussing the merits of a teenager running for city council. The discussion, as all good political ones go, gets a wee bit heated. Other patrons in the coffee shop start jumping in, giving their two cents worth, and before long there’s a rousing speech and a standing ovation from the entire coffee shop! It was then, at that moment, that teenager Ishan Shah decided he would run for Fremont City Council.
If he wins, Ishan Shah would be Fremont, California’s youngest city council member. Though he is only sixteen years old now, he will be the required eighteen years of age by election day which, of course, is in 2010.
“The primary reason I want to win this election is simple: I was tired of sitting on the sidelines. I have so many ideas, so many plans. All with no way to be implemented or expressed. The current facade of ‘citizen involvement’ in our city government is total garbage.
Unless you are a council-member yourself (or happen to be a powerful enough person to have sway over one) your voice will never truly be heard. Your cause will never be supported. Unless of course, by some miracle, your interests happen to align with theirs. I want to represent you: the ones with no voice. That includes the young, the old, the middle-aged, it does not matter!”
I love it! Ishan is a junior in high school now and is taking the election next year very seriously. He already has an exploratory committee (you can see their photo below the fold) made up of about 12 peers, including a statistician who has perfect grades in his college-level statistics class, a pretty great website that includes position papers, and a strategy to win by launching a “rigorous” voter registration driver in an effort to get more youth involved in voting. Inspired by both his parents and Rep. Pete Stark (D) who he interned for, teenager Ishan Shah will most likely run for city council against two incumbents who both won easily in 2006.
City Council Video