It's a wide open race for mayor in Fremont, and an 18-year-old college freshman is hoping to take the head office of his hometown. Aziz Akbari says that "Over the last 8 years [since he was 10], he has seen the challenges within the City of Fremont the lack of vision and strategy that left Fremont unprepared for the recession, and a recovery has been even worse." He's hoping to change all that, and he's running against four other candidates for mayor, including two city councilmen. He'd be the city's first mayor of South Asian decent, and, obviously, its youngest.
Akbari is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree at USC, majoring in mechanical engineering, minoring in computer science but is also on a pre-law track. He's currently taking 17 units and commuting home on the weekends to campaign. Obviously, he's kind of an over-achiever. His mother tells KTVU, "When someone has a passion and they have that commitment you just have to let them go with it."
Akbari tells Illume magazine that he's an advocate for better fiscal management in the city, and that he "will drive more creativity and innovation in formulating the city's policies and in generating new revenue streams." Also, being an 18-year-old newcomer, he'll come into the job with no alliances and no pre-conceived ideas of how the city should be run.
Also, he grew up in Niles famous for being the home of early silent-film studio Essanay Studios, which shot several Charlie Chaplin films and cowboy pictures in and around Niles and Akbari wants to help preserve the district's historic characteristics.
Akbari just started putting his signs up and is getting attention around town (watch an interview with him here). We'll be on the lookout for the latest polling data in this hotly contested race.
Previously, teenagers have been elected mayor around the country quite a bit, with some of the more recent examples being Michael Sessions, who served four years as mayor of Hillsdale, MI starting in 2005 when he was 18; Sam Juhl of Roland, IA who served as mayor from 2005 to 2009, beginning at age 18; and Christopher Seeley, the current mayor of Linesville, PA, who took office in 2005 when he was 18.