March 25, 2009
By KATHY A. GOOLSBY
The Dallas Morning News
Warren Seay Jr. served as senior field commander in DeSoto High School's marching band and was the school's senior class president. Now the 20-year-old college student wants to serve on the district's school board.
Seay, who graduated DeSoto High in 2006, is vying for the Place 6 seat being vacated by trustee Don McKinley.
"I'm a lifelong product of DeSoto's public school system, I've studied the issues, and I know the schools well," said Seay, a senior at Southern Methodist University majoring in political science and public policymaking. "To see the district go through a series of trials these last few years has really bothered me."
Topping his list of problems are the state's academic ratings at the high school and two other campuses, which last year dropped from acceptable to unacceptable. Seay also believes officials are making bad financial choices, such as funding parenting courses for adults.
"We should have been looking to make investments that directly benefited the classroom," Seay said.
His own financial experience comes from working with budgets in his position as president of his college fraternity, he said, and also through his internship last summer with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contracts and Compliance Programs. . .
Seay is not the only under-age-25 candidate in North Texas races. There are at least half a dozen others, and there were almost as many in races a year ago.
Dennis Simon, a political science professor at SMU, attributes the spate of young candidates to a generation seeking greater civic engagement.
It's a trend that began about a decade ago, he said.
"I think it got reinforced in the last campaign, and [President Barack] Obama clearly engaged the youth, but I would not cite that as the main factor.
Both political parties explicitly targeted the youth vote in 2008 and 2004," said Simon, who taught Seay last year in a civil rights course.
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