Southern student elected to office
Josh LaBella – News Writer
Another Southern Connecticut State University student has been elected to public office. Tyrell Brown was elected to the planning and zoning commission in Middletown.
Brown, a junior business administration major, said growing up he’d always had an interest in politics. He said his first election was for senior class president at Middletown High School, which he won. He said he liked it and felt he could get used to it.
“That was one of the things that definitely pushed me,” said Brown. “I liked helping classmates and maybe I can help the residents of Middletown as well.”
Brown said he decided to run for the planning and zoning commission because it has a direct impact on taxes and he feels the taxes are ridiculous in Middletown and he wanted to help.
“I knew that hopping on that I’d be able to help,” said Brown. “We really control allowing businesses and developers to come into the city and, therefore, that would affect taxes and residents.”
Brown, who is 20 years old, is the youngest black republican to get elected into office in Connecticut’s history along with his friend Ed Ford Jr, who was elected to Middletown’s board of education. He said this isn’t something people see every day.
“I feel as if the party itself,” said Brown, “they need to do a better job reaching out to minorities and showing them it’s a party for everyone and not just old rich white guys.”
According to Brown, his job is going to be tough but he’ll be trying his best to work with his colleagues. He said he wants to make it easier for business to come to Middletown so they can grow their tax base. He said it’s important for young people to get involved in politics because they are the future.
“If we don’t put our input into things we can be greatly affected in the future,” said Brown. “When you look at student loans for example. If young people don’t get involved with this process, young people are going to continue to be screwed. So we definitely need to get involved with these things and its good for a resume too.”
Kevin Butterbaugh, chairman of the political science department, said the fact that the people of Middletown voted to elect a 20 year old means there’s something special about him. From a political science perspective, he said, it’s clear that the more someone participates, the better citizen they are. He said a lot of political institutions are dominated by the old and that doesn’t promote innovation and new ideas.
“In a sense, it will probably liven up discussion and bring a very different perspective,” said Butterbaugh. “I don’t see any negatives to someone that’s really youthful winning these kinds of elections.”
Brown said he went to Johnson and Wales University before he came to Southern and both schools helped him by teaching him to go out and chase his dreams. He said one thing he continues to tell young people is to go out and do whatever they want to do.
“It’s that simple. Just put your mind to it,” said Brown. “Put in the work. And you can get anything done.”
Photo Credit: Josh LaBella