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16-Year-Old Wants To Become Next Mayor Of Ardsley, Then Go From There

David Oks of Ardsley
David Oks of Ardsley Photo Credit: Contributed

Win or lose during Tuesday's election, 16-year-old David Oks has an eye toward Washington and maybe even the White House.

Oks, who is running as an Independent write-in candidate for the office of Mayor in Ardsley, isn't holding his breath about coming out on top.

But he is enjoying the ride and all that he is learning about maneuvering the political waters at the grassroots level.

Born and raised in Ardsley, the Masters School junior, knew he had to do something the minute Donald Trump was elected president last year.

"I was watching it happening live and I was stunned," he said.

He was spurred along to make his run after working as an intern to Congressman Eliot Engel and serving as a page in the Senate over the summer, sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer.

While there, he met Sen. Corey Booker of New Jersey and that meeting became a pivotal moment in his life when the senator told him the one thing he should do was run for office early, Oks said.

The intelligent young man sees his first run for office as a launching pad for his future political career. And he learned quickly that, well, politics can be dirty after he was removed from the ballot when his opponent challenged some of the signatures he had collected because some people printed their names instead of using signatures.

But that was just a stumbling block and he continued on his way, hopefully, to the mayor's office as a write-in candidate.

"All politics begin at the local level and I want to show other young people that you can run for office, make a difference and help direct change," he said.

Saying the current political system is  "corrupt and all about connections and how much money you have," and that most everyday citizens have given up and don't think they can make a difference, is what drives him to run for office.

"It might take years, but if young people come together and run for office we can change the system and make politics a place for everyone," said the Life Scout and chairman and co-founder of Youth Progress PAC, a political action committee focused on youth issues.

Oks says just running a campaign has been a real learning experience from putting together a volunteer staff and having a chief of staff to "getting out the vote."

"I don't' expect to win, but that doesn't change my plans for the future," he said.

But just in case he does win, the first thing he will do is have legislation passed that forgoes his salary.

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