Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Inspiring the next generation of community leaders

I had the great pleasure of giving a presentation to a group of about 12 Living Education Center (LEC) students on the topic of being a candidate for City Council. Ernie Reed, the LEC director, invited me to talk about the process of becoming a candidate for office, and sharing my thoughts and experiences being a candidate for city council. I was delighted to spend about 25 minutes presenting my thoughts, and another 50 minutes in a lively question and answer period. The students were all below voting age, but seemed genuinely interested in the process and possibility of being involved in political activity in the future.

I was encouraged that several of the students had several questions relating to the talk, and about particular issues in Charlottesville including growth, transportation issues (including Meadow Creek Parkway), environmental concerns, and putting cameras on the mall. It is great to know that programs like the LEC are involving students in current affairs in the Charlottesville community. I encouraged these students to stay involved in local issues, and consider if standing for elected office might just be something they might do in the very near future. I would truly enjoy having more people in the 18-30 year old range get involved in city council elections - as campaign workers as well as candidates. I hope one or more of the students I spoke with today will get involved in the next election.

If I am elected on Nov. 6 to city council, I will try to arrange opportunities to talk with students at other schools in Charlottesville. I think part of being a community leader is developing young people to become the leaders of tomorrow. I think that this group of LEC student might just contain some future city councilors - perhaps in some other city if not in Charlottesville.

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