YONKERS, N.Y. – Balancing school, work and free time makes for a busy day for any college student.
Throw in a run for City Council and it’s downright hectic.
But that is exactly what 18-year-old Brandon Neider is doing as the Westchester Community College student has his sights set on a seat on the Yonkers City Council.
A graduate of Lincoln High School, Neider announced his intention to run for the council’s fourth district seat in October. At first, he said, people didn’t take him serious because of his age.
But that quickly changed.
“When paperwork started getting filed, I started forming a campaign team and forming community events, then people started taking me serious,” he said. “And the support has been really good.”
Since then, Neider has been regularly attending City Council meetings, neighborhood association meetings, community events and pretty much anything else he can squeeze into his schedule.
In between all that, he balances his role on Mayor Mike Spano’s recently convened Youth Advisory Board with a part-time job at Micro Center and classes at WCC where he is pursuing a degree in human services and political science.
He admits it doesn’t leave much time for a social life.
“I enjoy it though,” he said. “It’s something that I haven’t gotten tired of so far, maybe because I’m young. I don’t think I’ll get tired of it either though.”
The lifelong Yonkers resident said he was inspired to make a run for the city council last fall, hoping he could bring a fresh face to the City Council, with news ideas and a less focus on party lines.
Discouraged by what he called constant bickering, Neider said he is prepared to follow through with his campaign without the backing of a party.
“One of major benefits of not running on a party line is that people are going by the candidate, not by party,” he said.
In the meantime, there has been a growing buzz around the teenage candidate, especially among younger voters, Neider said. He hopes his run for office will inspire other young people around the city to take action and hit the polls this fall.
“I might cause a huge young population to come out and vote this year,” he said. “And not just in the fourth district. So it might be a benefit to Yonkers as a whole.”
As for his future political aspirations, Neider said even if he were to be elected, and perhaps reelected, it doesn’t mean he’s set for a career in politics.
“So much can change in eight years,” he said. “I don’t see it as a career yet.”