While almost half of eligible Latino voters are Millennials, Councilman Andy Vargas has taken his civic duty one step further. On November 3, Vargas was elected to the city council of Haverhill, Massachusetts, becoming their first Latino councilman.
Oh, and he 22 years old.
"Some people think that you have to be a little crazy to announce that you're running for office at 21 years old - and I think there is certainly some truth to that," he said. "In many ways, young people have been the movers and shakers throughout history, ushering in new ideas, perspectives and potential solutions to complex problems."
Located just over 30 miles north of Boston, Haverhill is home to some 62,000 residents. According to 2010 census data, about 15 percent of its residents are Hispanic or Latino. With the help of 75 campaign volunteers, Vargas spread his name throughout the city and and got the third most votes in the election: 3,830.
"This is literally a piece of the American Dream," he said. "My father labored in a shoe factory in Haverhill, and now his son gets to make decisions to help the city."
Vargas's father, the founder of the Dominican Organization of International Resources, was born in the Dominican Republic then moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts. His mother, a nurse practitioner, was the youngest of six children and the only one of her siblings born in the U.S. The Vargas household emphasized the importance of giving back to the community whenever possible. They also encouraged engagement with the issues around them.
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