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USU student is youngest candidate for River Heights council

September 15th, 2009 Posted in Opinion

By Catherine Meidell

Today, USU freshman Skyler Tidwell will be pacing the floor, anticipating the results of the River Heights City Council primary election. Tidwell is the youngest candidate to ever run for a seat in his town’s city council. He just completed a long weekend of campaigning, receiving most of his publicity at the annual Apple Days parade where he threw candy out into the audience from a sports car decked out in balloons.

Though he is younger than his opponents by 20 or more years, Tidwell said he still has hope. He knows the odds of him finding himself on the city council are slim, especially when he is up against incumbents, Douglas Clausen and Kathryn Hadfield.

“If I happen to lose, and chances of that are high, I will look back and see what I did wrong so I can be more successful in the future,” Tidwell said. “I figure if I start young, I can get used to wearing the belt.”

Last year, Tidwell served as senior class president for Mountain Crest High School and played on their football team all four years as running back. He is the oldest in his family and said that his parents are dumbfounded by his ambitions. He has been resident of River Heights for 16 years after moving from Logan where he was born.

He said that being on the city council is the next step toward his ultimate goals. These goals include becoming the governor of Texas and eventually president of the United States. If he does not make it into one of the two open seats on the council he will get himself involved in ASUSU and would like to be a part of the USU student body president’s cabinet. Tidwell said if he does not make it onto River Heights’ city council, he will not be running again because he only has the next four years to commit to the job. He plans on going to law school after he gets his degree from USU, so Tidwell said his councilman era happens now or never.

If he is elected as a city council member, Tidwell said he would like to change the way water lines and roads are repaired in River Heights. He said that the current council members do everything the cheapest way possible. They patch things up rather than replacing them and the repairs don’t last long that way. “I believe in doing things right the first time,” Tidwell said.

“I’m concerned,” Tidwell said, “If we don’t get a handle on the water lines we’ll have to annex to providence.”

Tidwell said he understands that River Heights doesn’t have the funding to revamp a lot of constructions in the city that need fixing, which is why he would like to see some commercial development so that the city’s money doesn’t come strictly from tax revenue. “I’d like to see taxes as low as possible,” he said.

No matter what happens with the election, Tidwell said the experience that running for city council has given him has been the best way to learn more about government systems. He has fans on his facebook group entitled “Skyler Tidwell for city council,” who applaud him for running at such a young age but he said that “some people just get carried away with the compliments, but I am flattered.” His group now has 230 supporters. Tidwell said he was notified by an e-mail during his campaigning that Karl Rove and Mitt Romney were following his Twitter account.

It’s a struggle running for city council as an 18-year-old, Tidwell said, because it’s hard to get people to trust him.

“I mean how should people know I’m not just some punk kid. How should they know I’m not in it for the popularity? They don’t, and I can’t prove it unless I get in there and show them,” Tidwell said.

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