Monday, December 04, 2006

The Messenger's 2nd Publication!

We have published the second publication of The Messenger!

The publishers of The Messenger have given me permission to post my articles that have been published in the newspaper, along with any of my writing assignments for the club - The National Association of Christian Homeschool Journalism Clubs (NACHJC).

This is my article that was published in the second publication of The Messenger.

Eighteen-year-old Elected Mayor of Union

On November 8, unofficial election results showed 415 write-in votes, all in favor of Kyle Corbin, to be elected mayor of Union, Oregon. It was a write-in campaign because Corbin was seventeen during the time of the election. He turned eighteen five weeks later.

Corbin is a college freshman at Eastern Oregon University, where he is majoring in politics, philosophy and economics. In his senior year, he was the student body president at Union High School, where he was known for his good leadership capabilities. Jerry Matthews, a counselor at Union High School said, "His skills as a leader will amaze some of the older people he will work with [on the city council]. He has maturity beyond his years.''

In a private interview, Kyle Corbin expressed his reasons for deciding to become mayor and shared his political views.

Messenger: What made you decide to run for Mayor?

Corbin: I’ve grown up in Union my entire life. I had seen people I had looked up to and respected my whole life; [I got] the arguments on the street, [and went] to city council meetings about political issues. And it’s kind of disheartening to see things like [political misfortunes] happen in your town. It’s a small town and everybody knows everybody and when stuff like that happens, it’s kind of bad. So I decided, what better way to do my part, now that I’m old enough to do my part, and run for public office.

Messenger: What do you plan to accomplish during your term?

Corbin: Hopefully, at first to garnish and harbor respect, because you can’t really get anything else without that. That’s step one.

Messenger: Do you have any actual plans you want to accomplish?

Corbin: I want for Union what basically any mayor would want for their town. Things like economic development [and] creating jobs.

Messenger: You said that one of your main goals was to gain respect, and since you are perhaps the youngest mayor in Oregon’s history, are you worried about how people in Union’s city council will view you?

Corbin: I totally expect it to be difficult at first to gain the respect of the councilors that are older and more experienced than I am. I don’t expect to have respect just because I’m the mayor; I have to earn it. And in turn, they have to earn my respect as well. But we’ll get through it and we all want what’s best for Union and we’re all going to work together to try to make that happen.

Messenger: How much time do you think your duties as mayor will require?

Corbin: Probably as much time as I choose to put into it. I want to do the best job I can do. It’s going to be hard work and it’s going to take a lot of time, but it’s worth it, I think.

Messenger: Do you think you will be able to balance that with any of your College plans and your other duties?

Corbin: Yeah, I think so. There’s a lot of people here at the city that work hard and know what they’re doing, and they’re willing to help and so I think we can definitely balance that time.

Messenger: Who are your role models that perhaps influenced your political views?

Corbin: Anybody willing to step up and do what they think is best for their town or their country or whatever it might be is a role model to me.

Messenger: You regularly attended Union’s city council meetings. What motivated you to go to them?

Corbin: You hear things around town about things that have went on, but you don’t really know for sure. My mom worked at City Hall for a while, my grandmother’s on the planning commission, and my aunt used to be on the budget committee. And you hear all this stuff and you really don’t know if any of it’s true so I decided that I would go to some of these meetings and see what I could find out for myself.

Messenger: A lot of 18 year-olds don’t even consider voting, let alone running for office. What do you think makes you different from most people your age?

Corbin: I think anybody, whether they’re eighteen or seventy-five, has an opinion and has things that they feel strongly about. It just takes determination and the willingness to step up and try to get your opinions heard and make a difference to make things happen. I don’t think I’m really any different than any other eighteen year old. I just decided to do something about it. That’s the biggest difference, I guess.

Messenger: What are your views on the illegal immigration crisis?

Corbin: I definitely agree that it’s a problem. I think that our country definitely needs immigrants; they’re very valuable and our country was built on originally with immigrants. We need some sort of a structure instead of this free flow of people across our border. It causes a lot of issues [like] national security issues. I think that we need to create some sort of system that makes it fairly easier than it is now for people who want to immigrate to our country to actually get to do that in somewhat of a timely fashion. We need these people in our country to support our way of life and if they want to live here then I think that they should be able to, but they’re going to have to do it legally. And I think we need some sort of enforced system to make that happen.

Kyle Corbin will be sworn in on January 2nd.

"Everybody's goal is to make Union a better place. They just have different ideas about how to get there,'' Corbin said. "Sometimes dramatic change is needed. It might be that a kid mayor is what is needed to bring people together.''

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