Politics & Government

Newest Colwich City Council member is just 18

Chase Blasi is a busy guy and he likes it that way. It suits his go-go personality, he said.

Some wonder if he takes it too far. The 18-year-old senior at Andale High School is a member of the school’s track team — he runs sprints, naturally — serves in a host of organizations, some of which he started, and is finishing up his classes.

Tuesday night, Blasi added something else to his plate. He was elected to the Colwich City Council.

Blasi pulled 64 votes, or 32 percent of the total votes cast, to become one of two newcomers to the five-member council.

He most likely is the youngest person ever elected to office in Colwich, said Diana Brooks, who has been Colwich city clerk for 12 years.

Blasi, a Republican, registered as a candidate when he was 17, then turned 18 in January to qualify for office.

His goals include making Colwich youth-friendly and helping the community grow so it doesn’t lose its elementary school.

“I really wanted to see change and see something going on here. I feel like nothing’s happened here,” Blasi said. “I want to bring the youth perspective to it.”

Blasi, the son of Greg and Vicky Blasi, will be sworn into office the day after he graduates from high school. As a council member, he will serve a two-year term without a salary.

In the fall, Blasi will attend Newman University. He hopes to earn an MBA.

His interest in leadership started in the fourth grade at Colwich when a teacher gave him a chance to take roll and keep lunch attendance.

“I liked the feeling of leadership and responsibility,” he said.

When he was in the fifth grade, a teacher got him interested in current events, and he began to learn that the world is bigger than Colwich.

Blasi started officially in politics in 2010 when he volunteered with Mike Pompeo’s 4th District congressional campaign. After that, Blasi wanted to stay active politically, so he started the Sedgwick County TeenAge Republicans and serves as its chairman.

Last year, Blasi was one of two student delegates from Kansas selected for the United States Senate Youth Program. He spent a week in Washington, D.C. where he met President Obama, the secretaries of energy and education and a host of U.S. senators.

Blasi said he learned during that week that people of all beliefs from all over the country could find common ground on issues. He even got along well with his roommate, a liberal delegate from Maryland, he said.

He started a club at school with his government teacher called Youths Making a Difference, which discusses and debates issues.

He also is a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions, which combats drugs and other forces that can lead young people astray. And he’s a member of the Friends of Rachel Club, named for Rachel Scott, one of the victims of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. The club’s goal is to create a culture of kindness in high schools.

Blasi said he likes running track because it is as fast-paced as he is.

“I’ve got to be busy. I’ve got to do something,” he said.

After his election, Blasi received a text message of congratulations from Trey Joy, who was elected mayor of Smith Center in 2009 at age 19.

Election day was ordinary for Blasi. He was concerned mainly about classes and track, he said. After all, a big meet at Chaparral is coming up.

Classmates were more excited than he was about the election, Blasi said.

But once he won, he was excited, as well, he said.

“Everyone’s excited to see someone young get out here and try to do something for the community,” Blasi said.