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January 24, 2001 1 min read
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In the Running

“Uncorrupted by years of experience.”

That’s Pittsburgh high school student Josh Pollock’s campaign slogan—for mayor.

The 18-year-old guitar major at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts joined the city’s mayoral race last month because he longed to hear something different from the political status quo, he says. Mr. Pollock will challenge Mayor Tom Murphy and Bob O’Connor, the City Council president, in the Democratic primary May 15.

While the self-described political activist admits that his age has been an asset in capturing media attention (a planned Fox News Channel appearance was bumped by the withdrawal of Linda Chavez as U.S. secretary of labor-designate), Mr. Pollack said his “serious ideas” would legitimize his campaign.

His platform includes support for local businesses and an expansion of recreation facilities for the city’s youths. The high school senior supports gay rights and says he would address such social-justice issues as racial profiling and police brutality.

But Mr. Pollock’s tender age could derail his candidacy before it starts. While Pittsburgh’s home-rule charter sets no age limit for mayoral candidates, provisions under Pennsylvania’s “second-class city” law require that the mayor be 25.

The Allegheny County elections division will put Mr. Pollock on the ballot unless other mayoral candidates file a complaint in court.

Josh Pollock said he would put off plans to become a record producer if his campaign succeeded.

“I think being mayor would be a pretty good education,” he said.

—Karla Scoon Reid

A version of this article appeared in the January 24, 2001 edition of Education Week


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