Denver student, 18, is possibly youngest ever to run for Denver school board

Posted at 2:04 PM, Apr 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-06 20:45:15-04

DENVER — The race for District Four of Denver Public School's Board of Education just got a little more crowded with a candidate who hasn't even graduated.

Tay (Auontai) Anderson, a senior at Manual High School, announced his candidacy for the elected position just months before he is slated to graduate and head off to college.

Anderson said he's bolstered, not hurt, by his youth. He said he has a fresh perspective and first-hand experiences going through the Denver Public School system. 

"Together, we need to create more opportunities for students to step into their greatness, improve our school, and put our students first -- especially our students of color, which is a top priority for me," Anderson said. 

It's possible that Anderson is the youngest candidate to run for the office, but can't be confirmed as the Secretary of State's Office does not track age of candidates. Anderson is just three months older than the deadline requires, however. 

The young man has ambitious goals, such as running for governor and graduating from college in the foreseeable future after graduating high school, but he's also had to tackle very real challenges. 

Anderson said he's been without a home, and noted it's not easy to be a homeless teen nor succeed in school without that support system.

"Being able to be a homeless youth has not only been able to shape my mindset and be able to shape who I am as an individual, but there is almost one student in every DPS classroom that is without a home and so I am here to be a voice for the voiceless as well," Anderson said.

The 18-year-old promised if elected he would help find solution, navigate complicated decisions and as he said it, "get things done." 

He'll have to get things done without the big pockets of donors who often help win campaigns, but he said that isn't a large concern. 

"I don't need hundreds of thousands of dollars to back my campaign because I know with the team that we've put together, those people are here to win and they're here to fight and we're here until Nov. 7." 

Still, before he has that opportunity, he'll need to defeat whomever challenges the seat held by Rachele Espiritu, who is finishing out the term of Landri Taylor, who resigned in 2016. Nobody has filed paperwork to oppose Anderson yet, however. 

"At this time, I am currently still going through the process of deciding on whether or not I will run for this seat and will decline further comment about the election until I have made a formal decision," Espiritu said. 

For now, it appears, Anderson is running unopposed. He said he's not afraid of a battle, if it comes to that. 

"I’m here to show the world that today, we are changing Colorado politics, and we are going to step into our greatness as young people," Anderson said. "We are going to show there is not only this district but we are going to inspire everybody across the state."


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