The newly elected mayor of Aredale, Iowa plays saxophone in the high school band.
That’s because 18-year-old Jeremy Minnier is still in high school.
Minnier won a write-in campaign in Tuesday’s election, beating his 76-year-old incumbent opponent and getting himself elected mayor of the tiny, 74-resident town. Just 32 ballots were cast, and Minnier won 24 of them to incumbent Mayor Virgil Homer’s eight.
“I’ve been a leader my whole life,” he told MSNBC in an interview. “I’ve always volunteered in different things throughout the community.”
He said a few people approached him about running as a write-in after no one else in the town came forward to run for the spot. Even Homer said he’s glad he did, telling the Des Moines Register the only reason he ran himself is because no one else wanted to do it.
“A lot of people were surprised because I’m not the most outspoken person at school,” Minnier said of his win.
But, as he told the Register, he has a list of issues he wants to get to work on, including:
The overall appearance of downtown Aredale, including barren planters that lacked flowers this year.
The city septic system needs to be addressed — perhaps with construction of a new leach field.
Hookup to rural water for the city, which currently relies on individual wells.
Minnier said he didn’t spend any money on the write-in campaign, though some local businessmen printed and handed out cards with his name written on them.
Though he’s the president of his local Future Farmers of America chapter and holds a part-time job in addition to his band activities, he said plenty of people tried to dissuade him from his mayoral ambitions.
“I’ve had a lot of people say, you’re only 18, you can’t do this, you don’t know what’s going on,” he said.
Still, he doesn’t see his age as a hindrance, and said everyone should be able to have a hand in running their community.
“I’m a young adult. We are the future, we’re the next generation, we’re going to be running this country someday,” he said. “You need to start somewhere, and if you can start making a difference in the world today just imagine what it would be like in the generations to come.”