Teen Runs for Mayor

By: Jana Katsuyama
By: Jana Katsuyama

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The upcoming mayoral election in Fremont, California could make town history.

Residents will have the option of electing either the first female mayor or the youngest person to ever run for city office.

He's 18, just barely able to vote and Aziz Akbari is running for mayor of his hometown, Fremont.

"I've been paying attention to local politics since I was about 10 or 11-years-old, so I know what's been going on for the past few years and I know exactly what needs to be done."

Akbari is a sophomore at U-S-C majoring in mechanical engineering.

He has a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and is balancing homework with a busy campaign schedule.

"Right this way. So this is like our campaign headquarters."

Akbari's campaign office is just down the hall from his bedroom.

His social media campaign has attracted more than 16-thousand page views and he says it's encouraged many young people to register to vote or get involved in the campaign.

"When someone has a passion, and they have that commitment, you just have to let them go with it. You just can't take that away from them."

Akbari is running against four other candidates who are all vying to replace the departing mayor, including Steve Cho and Bill Harrison, who both have served on city council.

And Anu Natarajan, who is an urban planner and the city's vice mayor.

"I've got the experience. I've got the expertise.I've got the energy and the enthusiasm."

Natarajan says she's never met Akbari, but is glad to see a young person running for office.

"We have a lot of interest and tremendous amount of participation by the younger generation and that, to me, is a promising sign."

"If Natarajan wins, she would also make history as Fremont's first female mayor. We tried to contact the other candidates, but didn't hear from them. Regardless, it should be an interesting race in November."

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