| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 06:00 am
Morinville residents made history Monday by electing their youngest councillor ever: Brennan FitzGerald.
FitzGerald came in fifth place in Monday's Morinville civic election with 801 votes, earning himself a place on town council.
At 19 years of age, he is by far the youngest member of council, and the youngest councillor in town and local history.
FitzGerald said he was overwhelmed by the community's support. "It was hard to kind of articulate the feeling."
Town residents were looking for a change, he said, when asked about his win, and he could provide it. "They're looking for some young, energetic individuals to lead this council," he said. "As a young candidate, I have the passion, energy and enthusiasm to lead effectively." He also had strong support from young voters on Facebook, he said.
The previous record-holder for youngest councillor in town was Barry Turner, who was 21 when he took office in 1997. Neil Korotash holds the St. Albert record, having been elected in 2001 at age 21.
Now re-elected at 39, Turner said he was happy to pass on his title. "I did the official torch-pass last night when we got the results," he said, laughing.
"Morinville likes youth," Turner said, when asked about FitzGerald's win, and gives young people who run for office a lot of support. "Brennan put a fantastic campaign together," he said, and stood out from the pack with his creativity, thoughtfulness and use of social media.
Todd Eistetter, FitzGerald's old principal at Morinville Community High School, said he remembered him as a strong actor and singer. "He had one of the lead roles in The Pirates of Penzance," he said, and was active on student council.
"Brennan is a very personable fellow," he continued, with a sharp mind that would lead him to ask insightful questions on council. FitzGerald could become a role model for local high-school students, he added, many of whom are politically active.
FitzGerald, who is unemployed and lives with his parents, says he hoped to get a similar part-time job to supplement his work as councillor.
He planned to focus on economic development, community relations and youth interest in politics during this term. "This is a council that has everyone in mind," he said. "(Residents) should be excited by the potential Morinville has."