ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – As Samuel Kerwin, 22, gears up for the start of his last semester at the University of New Mexico on Monday, he is also running his first City Council campaign.
He is vying for the seat that Albuquerque City Council President Rey Garduño will leave open after retiring.
Garduño endorsed Pat Davis; the liberal political activist and former police officer said he has worked a lot with Councilor Garduño.
“He has got some things that he wants to finish that I promised to do, like finishing the east Central library, finish some Zuni development and helping Nob Hill finish the Main Street development, so we’ve been talking about it,” Davis said.
However, Kerwin said he didn’t want to see Davis run un-opposed.
“So I said, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s give these guys a race,’” Kerwin told KRQE News 13.
The 22-year-old is double majoring in American Studies and Journalism at the University of New Mexico. Kerwin wants to represent District 6, which covers the University area, Nob Hill and the Southeast Heights.
“If elected, I’m going to be the youngest city councilor,” Kerwin said.
He said he wants to find permanent housing for the homeless, expand early childhood education and address issues in the International District, often referred to as the “War Zone.”
“It is time we elect someone young into City Hall. Currently, it’s a bunch of old guys, and they have a bunch of old, outdated ideas,” Kerwin said.
While Kerwin’s opponents believe they are more qualified for the job, they both say they are happy to see a UNM student getting involved in politics at such a young age.
“I think it’s great. Everybody should be more involved in every form of politics, local politics in particular,” said Hess Yntema.
Yntema, son of the former city councilor with the same name, joined the race about a week before the deadline. The Albuquerque native is a registered Republican, but he said City Council has become too polarized. He said he believes in nonpartisanship and working together to solve the city’s pressing problems.
“Homelessness, drug habits. I was a prosecutor for my first job as an attorney, and I can tell you 99 percent of what I saw had some form of drug or alcohol related problem with it,” Yntema said.
The election is on Tuesday, Oct. 6, just about a week after Kerwin’s 23rd birthday.