Screenshot courtesy of KERO Bakserfield
While most of his 19 year old peers have college on their minds, Jose Gurrola, has his eyes set on much bigger plans—having a successful first term as the newest councilmember in the city of Arvin.
Gurrola beat out five older candidates and now joins a council with three other members with years of experience in public office.
“I’m very excited about learning from my other councilmembers, how the process works and see where I can help,” said Gurrola.
While in office, Gurrola has a list of things he’d like to tackle including helping to boost the local economy.
“I’d like to work on economic development, having a higher tax base, attracting more business to invest in the city but also bringing in new homeowners.”
The young councilmember brings a new life to the council as well as “a new view and scope.”
But don’t let his age fool you. He got involved in the political process years ago. He’s been an active community member going to council meetings. And as part of the “We the People” program at Bakersfield College, he learned a lot about how governments are supposed to work.
“We studied the constitution too and as I started going to these meetings, I realized there was an opportunity for me to run and help make our local government better. “
“I feel like I was elected because the voters saw someone young, passionate and energetic and I understand that government is of the people, for the people and by the people.”
There are 19,000 people in the city with only 4,000 registered voters. Sadly, only 2,000 turned out in November. He hopes to change all of that by engaging more millennials.
“I’ll reach out to them via my social media sites, invite them to meetings or events. The same people attend the council meetings. It’s not representative of our town. We need the younger generation. If I engage them now and encourage them to get involved, I can support them as they register to vote now so that their voice will be heard during the next election. I want to let my peers know, they have political influence here.”
Gurrola is grateful to his supporters and excited for the opportunities that lie ahead with his fellow councilmembers.
“Right now we are at a critical juncture, we are at a turning point in the city of Arvin. With this new council, we are going to do great things. If we keep on working together, listening to the community, I think that in the next four years, we can do a lot of good.”
While sitting on the council, Gurrola will continue going to school, studying politics.
California Forward believes that we can learn a lot form the millennial generation because they believe in the California dream—they’re optimistic about our government and love living in this state despite our current economic status.