I’ve always had a passion for local government.
Four or five years ago when I moved to South Farmingdale, I was pretty active in the village’s governance. I served on the downtown revitalization committee, where we discussed what to do with our downtown main street during the recession, which had more than 50 percent of storefronts vacant.
My argument was that it’s people my age that will to grow up and make use of all that. It’ll be our families that will be raised in what you create here. At a super young age, to convince the mayor and the board that our voices should be heard was a lot of fun, and something I really enjoyed doing.
When I’ve worked on congressional campaigns, I didn’t get to see the fruits of my labor play out in a tangible way but in local government, I found that I could make my mark and have a big impact. Which is why I decided to run for Commissioner of the South Farmingdale Fire District.
Announcing my campaign was a big deal – you get really excited beforehand and you hear some really positive, touching, inspiring things, but you also get some criticism. Okay, I asked for that.
But I never anticipated the vulnerability. You’re putting yourself, your ideas, your ideals, your character all up for referendum. Everybody is allowed to give you feedback because everybody has a vote. They all have a very tangible right to their opinion.
But that’s something you have to get comfortable with. You can’t do it alone. You have to ask people for their support and for their vote. You have to ask them for money, and those are things that I’m not used to doing.
There have definitely been some skepticism about my age, and that’s been heard, but my experience in law school has really prepared me to overcome that hurdle. Your opponent might be older than you and your judge is certainly going to be older than you, but you still have to advocate for your client.
I’m here, I’m the counsel and my age is irrelevant.
If I’m here, I will have been elected. My ears are always open, I’m certainly willing to learn and I don’t think that has anything to do with age.