Jeremy Minnier was elected mayor of Aredale, Iowa, beating the town's 76-year-old incumbent. NBC's Kevin Tibbles reports.
By Kevin Tibbles
He's a high school senior whose studies include everything from discussions on water management to agriculture. He plays sax in the school band. He tends a flock of sheep and a few head of cattle on a small family farm. And, oh yes, at the ripe old age of 18, Jeremy Minnier is the mayor.
"This is my hometown. Born and raised here. Proud of it all the way,” Minnier told “Nightly News.” “I wouldn't wanna be anywhere else."
That hometown is teeny tiny (the townsfolk would agree) Aredale, Iowa: population 74.
Aredale has a few issues facing it: the loss of the post office, a dwindling population, and water and sewage problems. It's a tall order for a kid who still lives at home with mom and dad.
But this town is hoping Jeremy Minnier, a wiry young man who’s both quiet and confident, can help them turn the corner.
"I want to spruce Aredale up," Minnier said. "Make it a better place. Make it so people want to come and see."
The new mayor didn't need a million dollar Super Pac to get elected. In fact, he was a write-in candidate who won by a whopping 24 votes to 8, beating 76-year-old incumbent Virgil Homer.
"We have a little hope for the future," said resident and town councilor Deb DeBerg. "Some fresh blood may see things differently."
And the new mayor says he's willing to do whatever it takes to get Aredale working.
“One of the main things right now is our septic systems in our homes as they're not up to state codes,” he said.
He'll even roll up his sleeves to help sweep and weed the town’s Main Street.
“We'd like to do some more landscaping in front of the City Hall, possibly add a flagpole, and purchase some new signs as ours are all rotted and chipped and faded,” he said. “Being the mayor doesn't mean that you just sit back and tell other people what to do. You gotta be there helping. I'm gonna be sweeping the streets out there with a broom and shovel just like they are.”
Back at Hampton-Dumont High School, the young mayor's got a lot of fans.
"I'm hoping he inspires a lot of our kids to step up when they see something that they think they might be able to do," Principal Steve Madson said.
A fellow senior at Minnier's high school, Tanner Brolsma, said, "He's a pretty low-key guy, but it's a pretty cool thing to have going on at our school."
So when will Mayor Minnier find the time to run his town? Well after his chores and homework of course.
“It's not a job when you wake up every morning and just love what you do," he said.