McKinleyvlle Race Four candidates are running for a single seat on the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors. The seat was vacated last summer by Helen Edwards, who resigned and moved to Arizona. Registered voters in McKinleyville will start receiving ballots in the mail starting next week. The ballots must be returned to the Humboldt County Elections Office by March 14.
Mad River Union
McKINLEYVILLE – Candidate David Coelho would like to bring some diversity to the Mack Town board and inspire young people to get involved in local politics.
A 2016 graduate of McKinleyville High School, 18-year-old Coelho is a student at College of the Redwoods, where he is taking general education classes. He said he’s interested in political science, although he hasn’t decided on a major.
Coelho observed that the four members of the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors are all white males in their mid-60s. Coelho said he would like to add some diversity to the board.
“One of the things I would bring to the board is a different perspective,” said Coelho, who noted that not only is he the youngest candidate, but he has also lived in the low end of the economic spectrum and is the son of an immigrant (his mother, who lives in McKinleyville, is from Sri Lanka.)
Coelho said that people his age are often surprised to learn that he’s running for a seat on the board.
“People ask me ‘don’t you have to be 35 to run for this position?’” Coelho said. “No, I’m not running for president [of the United States.]”
The only requirement for running for the board is that candidates are registered voters residing within the district’s boundaries.
“Maturity and experience should be more important than how long you have lived on the planet,” he said.
When it comes to involvement with the district, Coelho has more experience than some of the candidates from previous years.
Coelho was appointed by the board as an alternate member of the McKinleyville Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. Coelho attends the monthly meetings, where the committee has in-depth discussions about park and recreation issues and programs.
When discussing programs like the McKinleyville Teen Center, or the proposed skate park, Coelho has the perspective of a young person who was recently was using the district’s youth facilities.
“I still have friends that are using these facilities,” he said.
Coelho said he hopes that he can inspire more young people to get involved and help shape the future of McKinleyville.
“I would serve on the board and do the best I can and I’m hoping to get young people involved,” Coelho said.
“Just because you’re 18, 19 or 20 doesn’t mean your beliefs don’t count,” he said. “Their perspective is valuable.”
Coelho said that although he has some ideas on how to improve the district, he really wants to hear from members of the public to find out what they want. He also noted board members don’t accomplish things on their own. “It’s a team effort,” he said.
Among the projects he is interested in pursuing is a skate park, which he said would be a tourist attraction, bringing more visitors and money to town. The park would also get skateboarders off the street, he said.
“It’s a matter of public safety for our children,” Coelho said.
Coelho said he would also like to work with neighborhoods to identify where streetlights are needed and determine whether installing them is feasible.
Coelho spends most of his time being a student and doing homework, but he’s also finding time to campaign.