At age 26, Justin Brimmer is the youngest of the candidates running for the now vacant 15th district city council seat in November's special election. But don't mistake his age for inexperience.
Brimmer served as a legislative and policy deputy for Janice Hahn, the former city council member whose seat he now seeks to fill. He believes his age serves as an advantage.
"If you look at our district, 60 percent of the population are under the age of 34 and they're four to five times more likely to be unemployed than any other group," Brimmer said, adding that he understands the challenges facing this population.
Brimmer's campaign has a four-pronged approach: reinvest in youth, recommit to job creation, restrengthen communities and reclaim city services. He believes the young people of his district are being "handcuffed" because they are not equipped with the tools and training they need to compete for jobs. Brimmer says the 15th district is 10 to 20 years behind the city's other districts.
"We can't talk about entrepreneurship when we don't have the computer infrastructure to support it. I want to double, if not triple, our computer capacity at every library and also secure 10,000 computers for our district so that the churches and the non-profits can open up labs," Brimmer said.
He also wants to take a closer look at the city's project labor agreements.
"My question is how many people from CD 15 will get jobs? How many from Watts, San Pedro, Wilmington, Harbor City, Harbor Gateway will get those jobs? What do we need to do so we can accommodate and prepare our residents for those jobs when they get here?"
When pressed about how he would pay for the programs he would like to see implemented in the district, Brimmer says the answer can be found in public-private partnerships.
"I think our city can do seed money to show we're serious about an issue but then secure the private partnership to fill in the gaps," Brimmer added.
Brimmer does not have any professional consultants working on his campaign like other candidates in the race, but he is enthusiastic when he speaks about the volunteers who power his campaign.
While he believes he is the best candidate for the job, Brimmer says he will continue to serve the people of the 15th district in whatever capacity he can regardless of the outcome at the polls on Nov. 8.
Christine Detz is a graduate student at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, which has partnered with KCET-TV to produce this blog about policy in Los Angeles.
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