City Council

Recent College Grad to Be Sworn In as Walnut's Youngest Councilman

“If I had not run, I don't think they would have voted in the election," Andrew Rodriguez said of the millenial population in Walnut

Andrew Rodriguez canvassed neighborhoods, knocked on hundreds of doors and built a team of student campaign workers to garner support from millennial voters with Snapchat selfies.

This might be unremarkable for an up-and-coming candidate trying to woo young voters.

But at 23 years old, Rodriguez, a recent Rutgers University graduate with degrees in political science and public policy, is the city of Walnut's youngest City Councilman.

"Even in college I didn't know what to do after I graduated," said Rodriguez, who will be sworn in on Wednesday.

He won an open council seat on April 12, becoming the youngest councilman in the small Los Angeles County city's 57-year history, said City Manager Rob Wishner.

"It's certainly going bring some new energy to the policy side of the organization," Wishner said. "Andrew has a bit of background on the theoretical side of things from academia."

But with any new elected official with no practical experience, there's a learning curve, Wishner said.

"There's much to learn about how we operate in local government, but based on his interest, his background, he has the wherewithal to succeed," he said.

Among Rodriguez's priorities -- promoting neighborhood watch, developing a citywide emergency preparedness plan, and bringing in business to help generate revenue.

He came on the scene with his beaming face in sponsored ads on Facebook news feeds and at front doors. His face-to-face conversations won people over.

"I think having you in the city council will make a big difference," wrote Leny Silva on the Facebook page for Andrew Rodriguez For Walnut City Council 2016.

Some were reluctant, seeing the bright-eyed candidate with a crew cut at their door trying to drum up support.

"How old are you?" some would ask, to which he'd respond -- "I'm 23 and that's a good thing. I'm coming to you because I want to serve you."

Rodriguez has already inspired Matthew McBride, a senior at Walnut High School, to one day work in politics. He volunteered to help Rodriguez get elected.

"Being able to work on a campaign and win was a huge deal for me," said McBride, 17. "I can't even vote yet, and I'm already giving my say in the democratic process."

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