Close knit: Young Pennsylvanians come together over interest in public office

Local News

They've learned that people have to put aside their differences and come together to improve their communities

HERMITAGE, Pennsylvania (WKBN) – A group of six young men from different parts of Pennsylvania have connected over the past year with a common interest in public office and getting younger people more involved in their communities.

Today, First News spoke to three of the six individuals.

“It’s up to the next generation to step up and offer leadership to the next generation so we can continually replenish the torch of democracy,” Slippery Rock University sophomore Stone Helsel said.

Helsel is tossing his hat in the ring to be a supervisor in Mercer County’s Springfield Township. He was a junior member of the planning commission in 2017 and appointed a member in 2018.

Over the past year he has used social media to reach out to the other five to help each other learn as they navigate campaigning, financing and other aspects of the political landscape.

“It’s nothing but positive energy and if you want to get something done, they’re right there to help you,” Meadville High School senior Roan Hunter said.

Hunter is running for Crawford County Clerk of Courts.

One thing the group recognizes is that working together and dialogue are necessary. Five are republicans and one is a democrat, but they all realize the importance of working together despite any differences they might have to improve their communities.

“I hope people continue to do it because that’s how we progress as a community, a state and a nation, is when we put aside our differences and come together. Partisan politics doesn’t work. It has to be bipartisan,” Hickory High School senior Andrew Bucci said.

Others involved in the group include Nicholas Hannahan who ran successfully for Sharpsville School Board in 2019 as a high school senior. He will hold that position for four years.

Gage Bartholomew is also running for a school board position at Lakeview Schools in Stoneboro, Pa. He also ran successfully in 2019 as a senior.

Slippery Rocky University sophomore Adler Fleming rounds out the six. He is running for a position on the Brookville School Board in Jefferson County, Pa.

“I think it was a Supreme Court Justice in the 20th Century, Louis Brandeis, who summed it up well. He said, ‘The most important role in a democracy is not congressmen, not president, not senator, not mayor and not governor, but the role of citizen.’ So I think it’s very incumbent of young people to get involved,” Helsel said.

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