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Council to Vote on Lowering Minimum Age to Run for Council and Mayor

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, the City Council will vote on a Charter Amendment to reduce the minimum age for incoming Councilmembers and the Mayor, at the time of taking office, to 18 years.

I’ve received quite a few and comments about the proposed Charter amendment resolution that we’ll vote tomorrow.

Residents who oppose the amendment are generally thinking that a 18 year old candidate will not have enough experience and / or maturity to run and be part of a City of 30000 residents and with a yearly budget of nearly $15 million. Also, because most of the University of Maryland students move to College Park at the age of 17 or 18 and leave the City when they are 20 or 21, many residents think that a young student candidate may be too much campus – focused and thus may not have the time to live among the long time residents and appreciate or understand their interest and needs.

On the other hand those who support the lowering of age eligibility think that young candidates can bring fresh ideas to the Council and be equal and proud partner in revitalizing College Park that is promoting itself as a great College town. Lowering the age will most likely increase the possibility of more candidates for Council election. We’ve often seen some of the seats go uncontested.

There will be a public hearing at 7:00pm and I invite everyone who wishes to come testify this Tuesday at 7 pm or submit your testimony for the record to Janeen Miller, the City Clerk at jsmiller@collegeparkmd.gov.

The Council vote will follow after the hearing. Please let me know how the Council should vote.

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