ST. JOSEPH, Mo.
Jackson Connors is an 18-year-old student at Missouri Western. He is also one of several St. Joseph citizens collecting signatures in hopes to make the ballot for a St. Joseph City Council seat.
Connors said the idea to run for council came after his brother showed him an old book on plans for the Krug Park castle to be a banquet hall. He said he and his brother pitched the idea at a City Talk meeting and received positive feedback from both the council and the parks department.
"That kind of instilled a passion in me that I want to do something better for the community," Jackson said. And so began his campaign.
The idea is to get involved in city government is not too out of the ordinary. His grandfather Jim Connors served on St. Joseph's city council back in the 1990's before he went over to the Police department. Jim now serves as a self-proclaimed "ex officio adviser."
"I don't think he's too young. He's got a good head on his shoulders," Jim said. "If you tell him he's too young, he's going to prove to you he isn't."
Jim said Jackson's choice to run for council did not surprise him, as there has "always been talk" about public and civic affairs between the two of them.
Jackson said his father, Sean Connors, also played a big role in his decision to try for a council seat.
"He was the main supporter," Jackson said. "I told him I was thinking about it and he said, 'Why not, you have nothing to lose.' So he really pushed me to do this."
Sean, who works as Jackson's unofficial campaign manager or "IT guy," was also not surprised by his son's decision.
"He's always been active in everything he's done," Sean said.
People may be skeptical of a teenager in city government, but Jackson's campaign team say the city could benefit from some "youthful enthusiasm"
"From my perspective, from a lot of people that I know's perspective, St. Joe is kind of a retirement community. I think there's a push with a lot of younger adults that want to make St. Joe change," Sean said.
"It can't just be something that the older people do," Jim said. "I think if there were some younger people involved, that would be good for the community as a whole."
Jackson said he doesn't think age should be a factor when people are choosing a candidate.
"I'm willing to listen to what the people have to say. It's our community, not just the council's community," Jackson said.
If elected, Jackson said he would want to focus on three main things:
- Boosting tourism by increasing advertisement for St. Joseph's rich history.
- Creating or bringing in more businesses.
- Working with law enforcement to come up with better ways to address the rising crime issue.
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