YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Brandon Needer is 18 years old and just graduated from high school last year, but he has decided to make a run for a seat on the Yonkers City Council.
Needer graduated last year from Lincoln High School, and is now taking on Republican incumbent Dennis Shepherd in the 4th City Council District in Yonkers, according to a Newsday report.
Needer told WCBS 880 he decided to run after a frustrating experience during Superstorm Sandy.
“My decision to run for City Council originally came with the issue of Hurricane Sandy coming to my neighborhood. What happened with that situation was that we didn’t have any representation for my district to show the true power loss and destruction that hit my district,” he said.
Needer said he is well-prepared for the job in particular because he participated in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in high school.
“In school, with my ROTC unit, I was an administrative chief, and then the XO of the unit, so I already have the leadership skills and get stuff done,” he said.
He added that he is known for his leadership skills among his former classmates.
Needer characterized incumbent Shepherd as out of touch with his constituency.
“Our current representative doesn’t attend these meetings. He doesn’t know what’s going on around our district or community in general. Even casual events that are great for everybody and that are non-political – he does not attend those,” he said. “We actually have other council members come to these meetings more than him, or these events more than him.”
Needer said he is currently going to school full time at Westchester Community College for human services and political science, but will switch to part-time attendance if he is elected.
He said he started thinking about the possibility of running for the City Council when he was 13 or 14.
“It’s not something that I just picked up to run in the election,” he said. “I mean, it’s something I’ve been doing for about four to five years now with community service registered throughout Yonkers and Westchester County.”
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