MADISON, Ind. (WDRB) -- Forget running for student council or class president. A high school senior from Madison, Indiana, just threw his name in the race for mayor.
Bryan Hernandez splits his day as a dual credit student between Ivy Tech and Madison Consolidated High School. The 18-year-old is on track to graduate high school in May with a year's worth of college credit.
"I really want a career in politics. This is something I want to do with my life," Hernandez said. "I thought running for mayor would be a great debut."
Hernandez is a Democrat, active on campus, volunteers in the community and has worked at Goodwill and Walmart. He's campaigning on juvenile justice and education reform.
"The whole point of this campaign itself ... it's to get the youth involved in politics," Hernandez said. "I'm just trying to get people to realize hey if an 18-year-old can do it, a 21-year-old can too."
Hernandez will face Julie Berry in the Democratic primary.
"I think our democracy, both locally and nationally, is strengthened by more people being involved ... in particularly young people. So I welcome him to the race."
Berry is a much more seasoned public servant. She was the first woman elected as a Commissioner in Jefferson County, Indiana, in 2000. She served three terms in office and ran a campaign for State Senate in 2014.
She also worked as director of special project for the city of Madison in the 1980s.
"We need to promote investment from outside and we also need to promote population increase," Berry said. "This is a community that is poised for great growth and I felt like I could contribute."
Whomever wins the primary on May 7 will face a GOP challenge from either Bob Courtney, the former chair of Jefferson County Indiana's Republican party, or Andrew Forrester, Madison's community relations director. Current Mayor Damon Welch is not seeking reelection.
Hernandez moved to Madison at the age of 12 from El Paso, Texas. He said the 2016 election was a turning point that helped prompt him to run this race.
"I dislike when people pass off their personal opinions as facts," Hernandez said. "(Students) should be involved. We should start registering to vote. We should start actually campaigning, and that's what I love. I'm really excited people are getting excited about me and about local politics."
Whichever way the vote falls, Hernandez says he will be prepared. He has been accepted to Northern Kentucky University and at the end of the month says he will sign the paperwork to become a reserve with the U.S. Marine Corps.
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