Seven Hopeful Politicians 30 and Under Running for OPS Board - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; kptm.com |

Seven Hopeful Politicians 30 and Under Running for OPS Board

Nicole Ebat

OMAHA(KPTM)-- Politics isn't just for people with a plethora of life experience.

Candidates for Omaha's Public School board are living proof. There are seven candidates, all 30 and younger, on the ballot for next week's primary. 

Aja Anderson is the youngest of the bunch. She's 24. It's only been a few years since she walked through the halls at Omaha Central High School.

"It's still there, it's still fresh in my head, I know what those experiences are because I haven't forgotten them, they're right behind me," she said.

If she wins her race, she'd be the youngest person to ever serve on the OPS board.

Right now she's working as a health educator at the Douglas County Health Department.

At her age, she says she's not too far removed from most OPS students themselves and is about the age of the average elementary school parent.

Michael Warner, 26, says he's running in part so younger kids have a voice and someone who can relate to their experiences on the board.

Warner says he plans to fight for kids with disabilities, something he knows from personal experience growing up with cerebral palsy.

But he also says he wants to get into politics to be able to "create the change" he wants to see.

He says it's exciting to see a large field of younger people throwing their hands into political races.

"I think it shows a fire and exuberance for wanting to see actual change that we build from the ground up," he said.

Other candidates say it's time for the board to throw younger and fresher ideas into the mix.

"It's great to see this kind of youth involvement in politics in general," said Sarah Brumfield. "It's something the school board needs because we have a lot of incumbents that have been on the board for a very long time, no disrespect whatsoever to them, but I think this youth movement is kind of a fresh start that is needed in OPS."

Brumfield, 29, is the mother of an OPS student and has another child on the way.

She was elected to the board last November, but is having to run just months later after Nebraska's legislature cut the board from 12 to 9 members.

 This young group of candidates said their age helps them "get" students better than some other candidates. Some suggested they also might be better versed in current technology and social networks and the way students use them to learn.

"I think what we're trying to do, especially my generation, is to come in and say 'ok tradition we respect you and will come in and stand on you' however it's also time to bring in the new innovative ways that we learn or that we've had to learn since we've graduated so we can implement it into the way kids learn now," said Morghan Price.

The 30 year old has two children currently in school and has served as the volunteer executive director of the anti-violence group Enough is Enough since it was created.

Some of the candidates also hope younger candidates in the race might also mean younger voters filling out ballots.

"I think that's just all the more motivation to get them registered to vote, get out and vote and really be part of the political process," said Angel Martin,29,.

Martin received her bachelor's from UNO and has worked with several community groups in Omaha.

She said no one should have to wait to run for political office because many times people her age come in with a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective that can help boards get things done.

Lacey Merica, 29, said the large field shows how many young professionals truly care about their own community.

"It's a voice that needs to be heard because we have new, fresh ideas, we have experiences that are shared with other people on the board, but may be different so that we can bring new insights and ideas to education in Omaha," she said.

Of course, some of the youthful contenders have had people question whether they're old enough to hold office.

"I really would just like for people to focus more on my qualifications and my experience and what I will bring to the board rather than my actual age," said Anderson.

But she also wants people to hold off on giving her any pats on the back until she actually wins "and makes a difference".

With 39 different candidates in the OPS board race, the younger candidates have some stiff competition.

"I have the experience, I've worked with senators and legislatures," said Andy Allen, 48,. "I've been active in a whole lot of different things so I have a lot of experience in how to do things, how to build coalitions and move things forward."

But Allen did note that younger people are needed on the board because they have the energy to help move things forward at a quicker pace.

Marque Snow, 25, did not return requests for comment in time for an interview.

He currently works as the South YMCA's Youth Program Director and runs an after school program for 50-150 children. He is also on their Board of Directors.

Voters will have the chance to pick their OPS board candidate in the Primary April 2. Only two candidates from each subdistrict will move on to the primaries.

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