Saanich’s 20-year-old councillor is this month’s acting mayor and hopes to inspire other young people to get involved in politics.
Coun. Ned Taylor turned 20 in July, but began his campaign for Saanich council when he was 18.
On Nov. 1, a year after becoming a councillor, he took up the role of acting mayor. Each councillor takes a turn in this role – the four incumbent councillors held the position for two months each starting in January and the four new councillors do one month each until the end of 2019.
Being a young acting mayor feels “incredible and surreal,” said Taylor.
He explained that the added responsibilities include planning meeting agendas, chairing meetings, assisting Mayor Fred Haynes and speaking at events.
Taylor looks forward to chairing his first council meeting and feels prepared to “step into the hot seat” because he’s been observing for a year.
“It’s a little bit daunting … but something I’ll be able to handle.”
As of today I am officially the Acting Mayor for the District of Saanich! Each Councillor takes a turn in this role, which includes serving as the Mayor in his absence, among other responsibilities.
— Ned Taylor (@CouncllrNTaylor) November 1, 2019
The tide is turning in politics right now, he said. There is a “hunger for young voices” and he’s hopeful other young people will have the courage to get involved in different levels of politics. The issues being discussed affect the future and youths should have their say, he said.
When Taylor first decided to run for council during a byelection, he was unsure and worried he might embarrass himself, but decided to persevere. He remembers telling himself that worst came to worst, it would be a learning opportunity.
He wasn’t elected at 18, but when he ran again in the 2018 municipal election, he won a spot on council.
Taylor encourages his peers to believe in themselves and get involved too.
“Say what you believe and share ideas.”
He still isn’t used to introducing himself as acting mayor, but Taylor’s sure he’ll get there by the end of his stint in the role.