By Laura Butler
Twenty-four-year-old Cameron Gibson seems like a typical college student. He’s a political science major with plans to go to law school, has worked a part-time job at the mall and enjoys hanging out with his friends.
However, unlike most college students, Gibson is campaigning to be a Richmond city commissioner.
Gibson graduated from Ashland High School in Mansfield, Ohio, in 2001. He began his college career at the University of Cincinnati. But after two years, Gibson enlisted with the U.S. Marines where he served one tour of duty in Haiti and two in Iraq. Once his active duty ended, Gibson returned to Richmond to be with his family, leading him to continue his degree at Eastern.
After returning to Richmond, Gibson began discussing with his father what it would take to become active in the local government of Richmond.
“We were just kind of talking about some local government issues one day and the idea of running for city commissioner came up,” Gibson said. “So I went downtown, told them I wanted to run for the Richmond City Commission and asked them how to do it.”
Gibson said he was surprised to find out how easy it was to get onto the ballot. “I just had to pay 50 bucks, fill out a stack of paperwork, get two registered voters to sign my petition and boom; that was it. Now I’m on the ballot for the primaries in May.”
As far as campaigning for a position on the city council, Gibson said he plans to rely mainly on “word of mouth.”
“Number one, it’s cheap. I had to sign a paper saying I wasn’t going to raise over $1,000 for my campaign, plus I made my dad the treasurer for my campaign.” Gibson said he wants to try to print some bumper stickers as well as a few yard signs. “My idea of campaigning is definitely a lot different from the stuff they’re doing for the presidential election,” he said.
The main goal for Gibson’s campaign is to give a voice to Richmond’s younger demographic. “Richmond claims to want to be progressive, but to do that, I think they’re going to need some fresh perspective,” Gibson said. The majority of the other candidates are at least twice Gibson’s age.
“We all like to complain about stuff in the government but it’s not going to get us anywhere unless we attempt to do something about it,” Gibson said. “I’ve decided the only way to change the system is to work on it from the inside out.”
Gibson says he hopes to inspire more students to take a stand in local government and said even if he doesn’t make it onto the ballot this year, he will just “keep watching for the next opportunity.”
“This would be a great part-time job,” Gibson said. “I’m not sure how much it pays, but even if it didn’t pay a dime, I’d still want to do it.”
Voting for the primary election will take place May 27 and winners of the primary will be placed on the ballot for the November election.