Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows recently elected many new faces as mayors, councillors, and school board trustees. But two faces in particular have now become some of the youngest elected officials in the province.
Gabe Liosis, 21, from Maple Ridge, and Hudson Campbell, 20, from Pitt Meadows have both successfully made their way onto the school board as trustees in the Oct. 15 election.
But even before they both became two of the youngest officials in B.C., the two of them had already developed a close working relationship as members of MLA Lisa Beare’s staff, which Campbell said works to their advantage as new trustees.
“Both Gabe and I can call up the province pretty quickly, which puts us in a unique position,” he said.
By being the youngest voices in municipal government, Liosis and Campbell hope to bring a unique perspective that better aligns with what students today want.
Only a few years ago, both of these new trustees were high school students themselves who often took any opportunity to talk with the trustees at the time.
Campbell can recall advocating the school board when he was as young as 13-years-old. And as he recalls, that experience really opened his eyes.
“[I] believed there was a disconnect between district staff and students after being invited to attend the first board meeting,” said Campbell.
But now that he’s in a position to better influence change, Campbell says he’s ready to get to work. And he hopes that being elected so young will set a precedent for future politics.
“Being able to work alongside those I have sat across for so many years will be an exciting and much-needed shift,” said Campbell.
“Youth, especially those under 18, are often not given the opportunity to speak their voice. Politicians know that in order to win they need to target voters, and people under 18 cannot vote. This can often create a gap in policy. With no representation in government it is more important than ever that young people get involved to better our community.”
While Liosis and Campbell ran their campaigns on a lot of the same issues, Campbell specifically honed in on the need for a new high school in Pitt Meadows. He also made it clear that he wants to start doing board meetings in schools again, which he says was a practice from when he was a student, which has since been stopped.
School board trustee may not be the end goal for Campbell’s political career, but at only 20-years-old, he didn’t want to make any promises as to what his political future holds. Instead, he is focused on what’s going to happen in the coming term.
“I’m just really excited for the next four years.”
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