Seniors run for city council


Hanna Seemann

Senior Mary Chen speaks to City Council members of Carlsbad. Chen was one of 26 applicants who spoke on Mar.11.

When Farrah Douglas, one of Carlsbad’s previous City Council members, resigned due to family issues, a vacancy appeared. The council decided to appoint a replacement to hold Douglas’ seat for the duration of her term (ten months) instead of holding an emergency election, which would have cost around $500,000. Of the 38 applicants for the council seat, two were Carlsbad seniors.

Seniors Mary Chen and Nicolas Dmitriev qualified and sent in their applications after learning about this opportunity from their government teacher, Mr. Aster.

On Mar. 11, all applicants presented to the city council their vision for Carlsbad and what they would add to the council.

“Obviously, I’m super young and don’t have experience, and a lot of people applied–people who have lots of experience. But I think it definitely blindsided them to have an 18-year-old in the running,” Chen said. “Because I’m younger, I would represent the younger generation and bring different ideas that others wouldn’t consider. Maybe with a younger voice, they would be able to see different solutions they hadn’t considered before.”

City Council makes numerous decisions about the city on a daily basis. Many meetings dealing with the budget and upcoming events are part of the job. Not to mention attending fundraisers and charity functions; although it is considered a part-time job, the role demands an immense time commitment. Despite this, both Chen and Dmitriev had their reasons for applying.

“I attended the Carlsbad Citizens Academy, and it was super interesting,” Chen said. “Basically, it’s a program where you learn about all the city services and get behind-the-scenes on Carlsbad. I learned a ton I never knew, and I thought being on City Council would be a really unique opportunity for me to get involved in city government and start taking action–making Carlsbad a better place for everybody.”

For Dmitriev, the application meant a bit more than getting a closer look at the government. In his speech, the applicant shared why he wanted to improve and protect Carlsbad.

“Living in Eastern Europe as an American citizen for eight-and-a-half years, I witnessed how fragile and rare peace and freedom are,” Dmitriev said. “I am ready and willing to do anything necessary, so Carlsbad remains a model community for the nation.”

Although neither Chen or Dmitriev were chosen–planning commissioner Michael Schaumacher ended up with the seat–both walk away with a stronger understanding of Carlsbad and the people who continue to make it a beautiful place to live and work in.

“I thought they were incredibly impressive; everyone who applied is extremely accomplished,” fellow applicant Anthony Arnold said. “Their ability to communicate their vision for the future and what they see is important, and what they were able to contribute to the future today was very impressive to me.  It makes me very happy to know my little daughter will grow up with peers like that.”