COOLIDGE — Eric Daniels is the youngest candidate to run for council in more than 20 years.

Daniels, 19, is one of five people running for council in 2020.

He may be significantly younger than the other candidates he is going up against for a council seat in the 2020 election, but the way Daniels see it being young does not necessarily mean he lacks the knowledge or skills that would make him a competent member of the council.

What it does mean is that he has to actively do his research to be informed, so that he may one day take on a much more active role within the community. An undergraduate at Arizona State University, Daniels says he wants to serve as a role model for others his age so that more people in younger age brackets may get inspired to become involved in local government.

“Being the youngest candidate, I think a lot of people are going to take that at face value,” he said. “But I encourage every citizen that hopefully is going to vote in the upcoming election to take a deeper look at all candidates, especially me, and look at my history and what I’ve done.”

Daniels graduated from Coolidge High School in 2019. As a student at CHS, he participated in a number school sponsored clubs and organizations including student government — where he took on a range of positions throughout his four years in high school, from Freshman Class President to Student Body Secretary. In addition, he graduated in the top 10 of his class.

He was also the first student from CHS to serve as a state officer for the Future Business Leaders of America. In his junior year, he served as the Vice President of Media Relations, and the following year, he was selected to serve as the Vice President of Communications for FBLA.

As a candidate, Daniels hopes to bring more diversity to council — citing the minimal number of people of color on council as one of his motivations behind running.

“That’s one of the motivating factors,” he said. “Making sure that city council is a true representation of what our community looks like.”

Currently studying business (public service and public policy) at W.P. Carey School of Business, Daniels plans to double major in business finance in his sophomore year in college. Both areas of study, he said, will provide him with critical insight on some operations of municipal governments, such as budgeting, if elected to council.

If elected, Daniels wants to play a part in bringing more activities and opportunities for Coolidge youth and Coolidge residents in general into the community. For him, ensuring that the community can provide activities for the community is an especially important component to addressing drug abuse among younger generations in Coolidge.

The issue hits close to home for Daniels, who recently lost a close friend to drug abuse.

Accessibility is also something Daniels hopes to add to council, pointing to Mayor Jon Thompson’s weekly office hours as an something he believes each council member should offer to the public.

Beyond campaigning for election, Daniels is also using this election cycle to push for increased voter turn out within Coolidge. Working with his campaign, his efforts have included reaching out to those who have recently come of age to encourage them to register and providing access to information to registered voters about every candidate running for Coolidge council.