Arvin: Home of the millennial City Council
ARVIN, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) —
Younger generations have always been told, if you want to change the world, get involved in politics. A few millennials in Arvin have taken that message to heart.
There are five City Council seats in Arvin, and four of them are held by millennials. And with a majority on every vote, these young guns have a lot of power in their small city.
They're using that power to push the old-school city into the 21st Century.
The city of Arvin, since 1960, has built a reputation for being a community based in agriculture. When you first arrive, you'll see that reputation is still alive and well, but if you head over to City Hall a new reputation is planting roots in Arvin. That new reputation is the city with the millennial council.
Unlike the councils of the past, those occupying the chairs are full of youth. Mayor Jose Gurrola, 24, is the youngest of the bunch.
Next is Councilmember Gabriela Martinez, 27, then-Mayor Pro Tem Jazmin Robles, 28, and Councilmember Erika Madrigal, 31.
These four millennials hold five of the decision-making seats in Arvin, and they're all there on purpose. They all won an election despite their age.
"When I'm going door to door, when I'm meeting constituents at a community event, they realize it," said Gurrola. "They've heard of how young the City Council is, how young the mayor is, but they don't realize until they see me in person how young I really am."
So what does a council of millennials do differently than the older councils we're used to seeing?
First off, they get noticed.
"We'll get referred to as kids all the time," said Robles. "Those kids don't know what they're doing. Look at those kids up there."
Also, and you could've guessed this one, they aren't afraid to take a selfie. Gurrola boasted he might take more selfies than any other mayor.
All joking aside, these millennials run the city.
Not only do they run the city, but they do it in a way that reflects their views of the world, the future and what role their city has in that future.
"Our age does have a factor in us as a city," Gurrola said. "As millennials and as young people, we care about education, we care about the environment. We put that at the forefront of our advocacy and public service."
Possibly the biggest difference between a millennial council and an older council, according to Robles, these "kids" turn ideas into actions and don't take no for an answer.
"Past councils have brought about great ideas, but they kind of stay as ideas," said Robles. "I think with this council, they have great ideas, why aren't we doing more with them? Let's get it done."
So young as they are and camera shy as they aren't, this youthful council run by millennials is all business just like any other council.
They are eagerly awaiting the day everyone else sees them that way.