The mayor of Union, Oregon

The new mayor of Union, Oregon just won as a write-in candidate. Oh, and he's 18 years old. From the O:

An 18-year-old college student is the new mayor of this northeastern Oregon mountain town after waging a write-in campaign and pledging to end a history of political upheaval among his elders. ...

Corbin declared his intention to seek the mayor's job when he was 17 and still too young to get on the ballot. But he'd had enough of watching a progression of city councilors and mayors recalled amid firings and forced resignations of city administrators and police chiefs.

"There was even an incident where somebody threw a punch at a City Council meeting," Corbin said of a scuffle a couple of years ago that sent a 77-year-old woman to the hospital emergency room after she was knocked down.

When elections workers finished counting ballots Thursday, it was Corbin with 399 votes, handily defeating 59-year-old Scott Morrison with 271 votes and 64-year-old Dick Middleton with 200 votes.

Read the rest. Discuss.

  • (Show?)

    I love small town politics. Sometimes it's refreshing to see the "let it all hang out" lack of polish. Punching out an old lady is waaay over the line -- but there's something to be said for putting the good, bad and the ugly on the table and sorting it out from there.

    When I was in Maine a few years ago, I wrote about town government for a town not much bigger than Union. The elected selectmen and candidates would speak on the record in a totally unguarded way -- things like "I like so-and-so (fellow candidate or lawmaker), but everyone knows he's doing this because he just retired and he needs the money." Sometimes I would do them the favor of not printing their more colorful comments about each other.

    Good luck to Mr. Corbin -- it sounds like he has a good head on his shoulders, and perhaps in his youth is disarming enough to soften some old grudges and get people moving on.

  • (Show?)

    Is the mayor's position nonpartisan?

  • J J (unverified)

    Is it really "let it all hang out". The story mentions the different factions that have been fighting for years. It also mentions that his mother and another relative works for he city. Are they part of the factions that have been fighting? Probably. It's a small town.

    There's a lot less here than meets the eye. He might be the mayor, but do you really think he is going to go against his own mother? Not a chance.

    It's more of the same with a shiny new paint job to fool the credulous.

  • Eric (unverified)

    Too bad we can't do that in Portland. Has this new mayor thought about anger management counseling for the city council?

  • (Show?)

    Eric -- we almost did. In 2000, Jake Oken-Berg - then just 20 years old - nearly forced Mayor Katz into a runoff. He got 27% of the vote (if I remember correctly.)

  • Randy2 (unverified)

    I remember Jake's race.

    What's he doing besides his local band and City Club, Bus Project? It sounds like he's staying local. Will we hear more from him in the future.

    It is so great to see these examples of participation from that so-poorly involved demographic.

  • Sponge (unverified)
    <h2>I guess a town so bereft of mature leadership deserves to have a kid for its mayor. And to pull it off as a write-in candidate says a lot about both him and the other candidates.</h2>
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