While many recent high school graduates entering university are just wondering how they’re going to survive on Kraft Dinner for the next few years, Conrad Hewitt is out campaigning and spreading the word about his platform. Hewitt is running for city council in ward one for the upcoming civic election occurring on October 24, 2012. He also happens to be just eighteen. He will be the youngest person to ever run for city council in Regina, and will also be starting at the University of Regina this fall entering into business administration.
Hewitt is not completely new to the world of politics. He grew up in a politically aware household with both parents being political volunteers. He first stepped into a political campaign office at the young age of four years old, and has been swept up by the political world ever since.
“I was born to be a candidate,” said Hewitt. “I can’t see myself doing anything else… at heart I’ll always be a politically minded person.”
His past experience with politics and the community include a run as high school president at Campbell Collegiate, membership on the Campbell Collegiate community council and his Church’s vestry for three years.
Hewitt doesn’t think being a student will harm his ability to be an effective city councillor, citing that most of the city council members already have other full time jobs. Do not think that he underestimates university life though, as he sees that it will be a challenge, but he is confident he can seek and achieve a good balance.
“I was born to be a candidate.” – Conrad Hewitt
After only a few sentences it becomes clear that Hewitt possesses political knowledge that would rival most people in the city, not simply other eighteen-year-olds. His platform includes three main focuses: Striking a balance between taxes and services by focusing on sustainable growth and development, restoring and maintaining our aging infrastructure, and working towards a more engaging and accessible city government.
Having a young person run for city council does bring up the issue of ageism in politics and how age can affect one’s ability to make governing decisions. Hewitt finds himself running against people who have many more years on him, but he is not concerned with that.
“Politics used to be an old boys club,” He said. “But now, the standard has shifted to interest, passion, and caring about what’s going on.”
Hewitt has created a buzz in this civic race, which is sure to add to the already interesting upcoming election. An individual his age running could help bring the notoriously apathetic younger demographics to the polls. In the last federal election, according to Statistics Canada, only 55.9 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 24 voted, and the turnout for municipal elections is often quite lower than that.
Hewitt believes he can bring the idea of the political system back to the younger generation of voting citizens, and hopes this opens the door for more young people to enter into politics.
“[It is] important for people to remember that politics is the process about working towards a better society,” he said. “Everyone is working towards the ultimate goal.”
While Hewitt might be most noted for being the youngest person to ever run for city council, a reputation that could hurt him, or help him, it is clear that he looks at things differently.
“I don’t see myself as a young person involved in politics. I see myself as a citizen involved in politics.”