The newly elected mayor of this small Columbia County village is only a teenager, but he says he's not too young to govern effectively.
"I'm extremely excited to be able to take a community that was so divided and make it right and bring it together again," says 19-year-old Jason Nastke, who was elected mayor of the village of Valatie Tuesday. About 1,500 people live in the community 16 miles south of Albany.
Mr. Nastke, already a village trustee, got 290 votes, beating out 65-year-old incumbent Charles White, who had 182 votes.
While it's rare for a teenager to be elected mayor, it's not unprecedented. The youngest was 18-year-old Shane Mack of Castlewood, S.D., who was elected in his hometown in 1988. Mack went on to serve for eight years.
Nastke said he was motivated to run for mayor after watching a scuffle at a February board meeting over the $1.6 million water project, which will include a new water tower.
A student of finance at Hudson Valley Community College, Nastke said that his mayoral duties won't take time away from his studies. He's already used to juggling tasks and school, having recently started a real estate investment firm in which he buys and manages properties.
Is his mayoral victory the start of a full-time career in politics? Nastke already sounds like a politician in saying he won't rule it out: "I'm always open to new challenges, but first is the job ahead in Valatie."