Earlier this year, Mayor Christina Benty and Faith Dusevic, then working as the Town’s Communications Intern, organized a youth focus group to discuss what could be done to get younger demographics more involved in municipal politics. Those discussions included the idea of having younger representation on Council itself when Goldenites would go to the polls later in the year.
One attendee drew inspiration from that group, eventually turning the idea of a younger voice on Council into a reality and becoming the youngest councillor in Golden’s history.
“I quit my job at the Town and told (the focus group) that I was going to run in the election,” Eddie Leigan recalled.
On Nov. 15, Leigan wasn’t just elected onto Council, he was voted in comfortably, amassing 806 of a possible 1297 votes, the second highest total among all candidates.
The 23-year old third generation Goldenite, who worked for Public Works before deciding to run, was presumably a popular choice among younger voters, but it wasn’t just youth who were drawn to vote for him.
A special ballot box made up of voters from seniors housing facilities in Golden revealed that Leigan earned 14 of a possible 20 votes. It’s a small sample size, but it was two votes higher than incumbent Chris Hambruch for the most among all candidates.
“I don’t let (Hambruch) forget that,” Leigan laughed.
So how was Leigan able to convince the voting public to elect him in such large numbers, ahead of more experienced alternatives?
Certainly his youthful energy was a positive asset on his road towards Council. And while other candidates ran campaigns that were filled with negativity, Leigan’s optimism for Golden’s future seemed to strike a chord with voters. In the end, however, it may have simply come down to the obvious commitment and passion he holds for the Town that he loves.
“I think when you truly care about something it’s contagious, and other people can see that you’re passionate about what you’re doing and believe in you,” he said.
Leigan plans to take some time to feel things out during his first few months on Council and while it is early to be thinking about what the future might hold beyond his four-year term, it’s clear that Leigan doesn’t see this as a one-off.
“We’ll see at the end of the four years but I think this story isn’t over,” he smiled.