Erin Stewart

Age

27

Location

Central Connecticut State University

Occupation

Mayor, City of New Britain, Conn.

Twitter

@stewartfornb

BIO

Erin E. Stewart is New Britain, Connecticut’s 40th Mayor, elected on November 5, 2013.

Erin served on the New Britain Board of Education where she worked tirelessly to help make the city’s school system more effective for students and more efficient for taxpayers. She worked to encourage greater parent participation, advocated for assessments that measure the performance of teachers and administrators, and has been a part of the process to demand more scrutiny of board expenditures. That included supporting a zero based budgeting system, and the hiring of a new finance director.

She is the former Vice Chairperson of New Britain’s Commission on Community and Neighborhood Development, where she headed their planning/budgeting sub-committee. She is a Justice of the Peace, and has also held numerous leadership positions as a member of the NB Republican Town Committee since 2008.

 

 

Why is it important that at this particular point in time, right-of-center youth become involved publicly, whether in politics, media, their communities, or another capacity?

I believe that young people often discount the impact they can have in their communities. No matter where you live, there’s never a shortage of folks older than you who will say that you don’t know enough…that you don’t have enough experience…or have the right experience. But when someone breaks through those generational barriers in leadership roles, the ripple effect it has in the immediate community is staggering. I can’t tell you the amount of emails, Facebook messages and tweets I receive from young people in our city who are just looking for ways to get involved. I am happy to say that I recruited almost half of our city’s commissioners from young people who had been considered “outsiders,” or “inexperienced,” and in some peoples’ opinions “too young.” Today, it’s those younger commissioners who have been most active, vocal, and productive. They have become true agents of change, not because they espouse a certain ideology, but because they are passionate about their town.

 

What must elected officials and others in positions of leadership do to make a right-of- center message resonate with the Millennial generation?

First off, we need to elect more leaders of the Millennial generation — you’ll get more involvement simply by setting an example. Other elected officials should be encouraging young people to get involved, take them under their wings, instead of discouraging them from participating in the process. Experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the best ideas. Sometimes it’s allowing someone with a new, fresh, unbiased opinion to take a look for more productive outcomes.

 

Where would you like to see the conservative movement in 10 years — and how can it get there?

I would like to see us stop using the phrase “conservative movement” and rebrand ourselves. To me, being fiscally conservative isn’t about a broad ideology…it’s about common sense.

Thirty Under Thirty – 2014

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