Thursday, May 15, 2008

Teenagers elected to run two US Cities

What is common between Bedford (Tx)-based Chris Brown (19) and Muskogee (Ok)-based John Tyler Hammons (19)? They both are going to cast vote to elect the American president later this year. They both are underaged to buy alcohol or enter into a nightclub in the US. They both are in their college and studying hard for future careers. This is what most young people of their age are doing anyway, what is special about these two?

For one thing both of them were recently elected to the City Council and Mayor positions in their cities, with thumping majorities. While John Tyler Hammons won the Mayor's post with 57 percent of the vote over former Mayor Hershel Ray McBride, Chris Brown, successfully won a heavily-contested race for the Bedford City Council by an overwhelming margin. Hammons is a freshman in at the University of Oklahoma and Brown is a political science major in University of North Texas.

Commendable achievements considering the youngsters age. These young men have swayed huge populations (Bedford: 48,000 and Muskagee 38,000) in their respective cities to win with overwhelming majorities which even seasoned politicians find difficult to achieve. What is the secret of these victories? I would say a combination of self-confidence, enthusiasm and hardwork.

According to newsreports Brown worked diligently on his campaign, including spending several days going door-to-door to meet voters. He also raised about $5,000 – much of it in contributions of $5 or $10 from college friends. The results paid off, with Brown sweeping to victory in the Place 6 race with 83.7 percent of the vote. Opponent Jim Wallace, a closed-captioning editor, took 16.3 percent.

What is impressive about these young men is that though they have been elected to key city positions, they retain their youthful humility. Brown will take a break from school during the summer and return to his part-time job as a waiter at Raven's Grille at Texas Star Golf Course in Euless. And Hammons will continue with his studies at the University.

I think this kind of opportunity will help give confidence and enterprise to youth and should be emulated in other parts of the world. This is the only way we could make sure that the world is in safe hands.

Read more on: Houston Chronicle and Dallas Morning News

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