Parkland candidates hope to appeal to youth

A recent Marjory Stoneman Douglas graduate will run against a business owner for the Parkland City Commission, a race that will serve as a measure of a the generation’s political power in the wake of the tragedy.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Pfeiffer will be running for Parkland’s District 2 seat this year against Richard Walker, owner of Bergen Sign Company in Pompano Beach as well as and Wayne, New Jersey.

Co-founder of March for Our Lives, a student-run movement supporting better gun control policies, and recent graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Pfeiffer’s main motivation for running for city commission is the betterment of Parkland’s youth.

“I plan to fight for students with students,” said Pfeiffer.

Pfeiffer hopes to execute his plans by developing positive relationships with city officials.

Walker plans to “preserve the Parkland way.” He hopes to maintain the friendliness of Parkland’s people and push for more recreational activities within the city. A father of five children that vary in age, Walker said his experience as a father and as a coach is what he will draw on when making decisions for Parkland.

“I hope residents realize that experience matters,” said Walker.

His daughter will be a freshman at Stoneman Douglas. Walker said his daughter is empathetic toward what happened, but it isn’t going to stop her from enjoying her first year of high school. His position on school safety, since the shooting on Feb. 14 at Stoneman Douglas, is based on the concerns his children have expressed to him.

“I want to make sure as commissioner to make it more comfortable for her and her friends and everyone else, and that she understands that school is a safe place,” said Walker.

Pfeiffer, however, said he believes there isn’t anything better than an actual student perspective within the Parkland commission hopes that being a recent grad will appeal to voters in his age group. He said that being a parent isn’t the same as being a recent high school graduate.

“They should not be interpreted the same,” said Pfeiffer.

Pfeiffer said he applauds the city commission’s recent initiative to understand the city’s current policing state and what the community needs as a police force. But he has an interest as to how the city will include Parkland’s younger citizens.

“I also wish to urge them to confront students with this decision before they make any large decisions as they are the main constituents of these policies,” he said.

According to The Miami Herald, youth voter registration went up 41 percent in Florida after Parkland. Youths may be making a significant shift this election season. The regular municipal election in Parkland will begin Nov. 6, 2018.