Before he can add high school graduate to his list of accomplishments, 18-year-old Travis Nez can list himself as the youngest-ever county supervisor of Price County, Wisconsin. He beat out his mentor and opponent, local businessman John Reardon, to become the newest member of the Price County Board.
Nez beat Reardon, who had instructed him in business and politics, by just 94 votes. In addition to his new job, Nez will be finishing up his senior year of high school this semester and then heading to college in the fall.
Although Reardon congratulated Nez, he also expressed some concerns about the workload and significant issues Nez would have to contend with as a member of the board. "It's a significant budget," Reardon told My Fox Wausau. "It's decisions about millions of dollars in expenditures."
But Nez believes that it's important for young people to be a part of those big decisions. "I can't stand on the sidelines and watch it all head the wrong direction," he told local NBC affiliate WJFW. "So I decided to step up to the challenge to bring a new point of view, a new angle that's never been looked at before."
Nez is part of a recent wave of young people who have decided not to stand on the sidelines of local politics anymore. In Iowa, 18-year-old Jeremy Minnier was recently elected mayor of his hometown, Aredale -- while still finding time to participate in his high school band. Another Iowa teen, Jane Schmidt, also made waves in the political world last December when she publicly challenged Michelle Bachman on gay rights and helped shape the national conversation for weeks to come.
Do you think a high school student is equipped to handle such an important job? Share your thoughts in the comments below.