18-Year-Old Runs for City Council

Alexis Incandela, Reporter

18-year-old Marcel McClinton is currently running for a city council seat in Houston, TexasMcClinton is an anti-gun violence activist and an organizer for the March for Our Lives Houston rally. McClinton survived a shooting at his church in May of 2016. Following a breakfast campaign event for seniors, McClinton encountered a man who would impact his political views. On his way home from the breakfast, he headed to a local Starbucks and, at some point, engaged with a man who had stolen a beer from a gas station across the street. The man lunged at him with a knife, and swung it inches away from his face. McClinton chased the thief into bushes across the road, away from bystanders. “I didn’t want him to go on a cutting spree,” said McClinton. “And if he had a gun, we’d be dead.” 

McClinton remained a Republican for a long time, up until the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, which prompted him to reevaluate his beliefs. He was inspired to speak out in favor of gun control after seeing kids his age getting injured and undergoing a traumatic experience. He was inspired by Beto O’Rourke to run for office. “I have seen [McClinton’s] leadership, his determination and his ability to drive change, and I know we’ll all continue to see that in everything he chooses to do,” said O’Rourke. During his senior year of high school, McClinton began to prepare for his campaign, causing him to miss several days. His high school, however excused him for ‘special circumstances’ that allowed him to work.   

Political strategists watching the race question whether the young and highly motivated Generation Z activist can make the transition from activist to successful candidate. Although McClinton is young, the world today is being led by young activists such as Greta Thunberg and Emma Gonzalez, who are taking the world by storm and motivating their generation to take a more active part in the political world.