MCHS’ Own Mayoral Candidate Outlines His Platform and Outlook for the Future


Candidate for Mayor, Bryan Hernandez

Sophia Hall, Staff Reporter

Bryan Hernandez, an 18-year-old Madison Consolidated High School Senior, has announced that he will be running for Mayor of Madison on the Democratic ticket in 2019, contributing to the growing movement of teens and young people participating in politics.

The only requirements running for Mayor are being 18-years-old and a citizen. Hernandez feels his age would actually make him a better candidate than the others running for several reasons: He has taken every government class available, and his education is fresh in his mind. Every day he is sharing the experiences of his constituents in the workforce and those still in school. Hernandez feels he is truly close to the issues he is tackling with his platform, and he is young, energetic, and open-minded.

“The commitment to parties can be insane,” commented Hernandez. “I am not going to follow blindly; party lines are supposed to be a guideline. I really do like Andrew Forrester as a candidate. He is really promising. I really like him as a person as well.” 

Hernandez is also excited that he and his opponent Julie Berry (D) are both “firsts,” with Berry being the first female County Commissioner in Jefferson County.

“I have nothing but respect for her and she is a very accomplished individual; I think she’s really amazing,” he said.

Hernandez first became interested in having a political career when he began following the 2016 presidential election.

“It [the campaigning] was more about grabbing your attention, it was gratuitous. I really thought that’s not the way we should be leading. It should be more about the policies, the real issues,” he said. “When people report on me, the first thing they say is ‘18-year-old Bryan Hernandez,’ not juvenile justice reform advocate Bryan Hernandez or mayoral candidate.”

“I want people to realize ‘hey if he can run for mayor, I can vote. I can go out and campaign. I can talk about politics. It can be different; it can be done,’” he said.

Hernandez is running on a platform including juvenile reform and education reform, the issues that he is closest to as a young person himself.

“I’m trying to change the way that students are sent into juvenile detention centers. The fact is that (when) they have a bad day at home, that translates into issues at school, and then that student – who just really needed a break, needed some counseling, or some advice – is funneled into a detention center where they are punished – not reformed,” he said.

Bryan Hernandez signing the paperwork to officially announce his candidacy for mayor.

Hernandez showed frustration with the way some have portrayed voting blocs in town and displeasure with the way people are labeled.

“…Another one of the articles asked me, ‘how are you going get the factory worker’s vote?’”

He said the way they were boxing every blue-collar worker into a category based solely on their employment bothered him. He told The Madisonian about how he wants to grow Madison from the inside out; he wants to give every member of the community opportunities to finish their education or advance their careers to reach their full potential.

“I believe that the best way to create more jobs in Madison is not to get more people from the outside, its to bring prosper to the people inside,” he said.

Many constituents are concerned about the young candidate’s lack of life experience.

Hernandez responded, “I do understand it, and I do respect it. It’s a fair question, but when it comes to working experience, I hold my own. I’m still in school, and I’m out working and interacting with members of the community every day. That is my life experience.”

Hernandez was previously employed with Goodwill and now works at Walmart in Madison.

As far as plans for after high school, Hernandez has college and military plans.

“I have been accepted to Northern Kentucky University for the spring 2020 semester, and I’m going the marines for a three-month boot camp based off Paris Island. Then I’ll be in a contract with the reserves, meaning one day a month I will travel to Cincinnati and do basic marine corp reserve duties. I’m a regular civilian for the rest of the month. If I am elected, I would put NKU on the backburner, since I will already have my first year of college done. I understand that being the Mayor is a commitment.”

After his training, Bryan will be in a six-year contract with the Marines, but any of his service days can be rolled over if Mayoral duty calls.

“The second I graduate, I’m off [to boot camp] and I’ll be back for the election in November.”

“It may seem like my plate is full right now, but I haven’t stopped. Yes, I do have a lot but I can tackle it all.”

“The big goal of my campaign is to get young people involved in politics, but my goals for my political career are working in the Senate, working in more local politics, (or) anything where I am serving the public. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do; its embedded in me. That’s why I volunteer so much and took my first job at Goodwill; they are a community-driven organization,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez with other youths in an Instagram photo.

The Madisonian surveyed Hernandez’s peers at MCHS and the results were encouraging: 69% answered yes or maybe to “Can an 18-year-old be a viable candidate for mayor?” 73% of MCHS students surveyed said they would support or would consider supporting Hernandez politically.

Students also asked critical, in-depth questions in the survey and seemed very interested in the idea of one of their peers running for office. Some inquiries included:

“What does he plan to do with the homeless problem? Opening up The Salvation Army as temporary housing is not going to cut it.” Other good questions were “What will he do about the drug problems in Madison? What will he do to spur local economic growth within Madison? Has he personally taken an in-depth look at such streets as 2nd St. and Walnut St?”

Twenty-two percent of the students surveyed are registered to vote, and 59% plan to in the near future. 22% identified with a political party, and 40% said they follow politics closely.

When asked what message he wanted to give his peers, Hernandez responded, “This may seem like a joke. This is something I want to do with my life; there is a serious tone to this.”

He encouraged his peers to follow his suit and take on whatever it is they are passionate about since “there’s no time like the present. Everybody has that little voice that tells you ‘you’re not good enough, you can’t do this.’ Don’t listen to that because you definitely can. Look at me.”

Hernandez is staying positive about negative comments aimed at him. He told The Madisonian that he is really pleased with the dialogue that has opened up surrounding his candidacy, and thinks that it is good sometimes to shake things up. He hopes his campaign will help a better dialogue open up between his generation and older generations, and he hopes he and his peers can begin getting truly involved.

“I think it’s very silly… waiting your turn. My turn is now.”