A teenager is getting ready to announce his candidacy for mayor in Woburn, Massachusetts.
If he were to win the election in November, Omar Mohuddin would be the youngest mayor in Massachusetts at the age of 19.
While there's still a long way to go, the recent graduate of Woburn Memorial High School says he's ready for the road ahead. Now in his first year at Northeastern University on an accelerated track, Mohuddin has a vision for his hometown.
"I want to be part of a closer-knit community," he said.
Some of the areas he says he plans to focus on are supporting first responders, focusing on infrastructure and beautification if the city, and investing in education by ensuring educators are receiving the funds they need. He touts his young age as a strength for seeing issues in areas like education with fresh perspective.
"I just came out of that system," he said. "I know the ins and outs and have my ear close to the ground. I know the issues they're dealing with currently."
Mohuddin says he thinks his age is his biggest asset and one of his biggest challenges at the same time, saying that it may take more convincing for some to understand his readiness for the role.
"I don't think there should be a negative stigma that just because you're young, you can't do something," Mohuddin said.
He added that he thinks others, both around his age and in older demographics, are also learning through the process.
"They're learning, just as I am, that you can get involved at 18 or at 19," he said. "You can have a voice in the community and not just expect others to stand up and do it for you."
And voters like 20-year-old Brooke Anjolie agree.
"I think they need to give us more credit," Anjolie said. "We're paying attention. We want change."
But others, like Chuck Mabardy, say they'll need more convincing.
"I don't know. Is he capable? Does he have the background?" Mabardy asked. "I'd be interested in his knowledge of town politics and state politics."
But Mohuddin says that's why he's planning to continue knocking on doors and trying to meet potential constituents. He is one of a handful of residents already voicing interest in running for the seat filled by longtime incumbent Mayor Scott Galvin.
While the candidates can't officially pull nomination papers until May, Mohuddin says that's not stopping him from hitting the campaign trail running.
"I like to joke that the first time I'll be able to vote is for myself," he said.
He's expected to finish his five-year program at Northeastern is just over half the time, and he says if he were to win, the school has agreed to let the role as mayor count for his co-op.
The municipal elections are set for Nov. 7.