Teen gets political on-the-job training


LAKE ELMO — Fifteen-year-old Jacob Silvernale, doesn’t have a driver’s license or a high school diploma and he can’t vote.

However, the St. Croix Preparatory Academy sophomore has a position in local government, no small feat for even adults.

Silvernale was appointed July 2 as an alternate member of Lake Elmo’s Park Commission. He heard about the commission opening while attending one of the meetings, and since the position didn’t have an age limit, he applied and was accepted.

“The best thing about Lake Elmo is the parks. Spending time at local parks is a great way to get to know your neighbors and I want to help build that sense of community,” Silvernale said.

Silvernale was working with his neighborhood and the Park Commission on options for a new park and realized that the Park Commission could be a good starting point for his future.

“I’ve been interested in politics forever. My main goal is to become a politician,” he said.

Although he still has three years of high school left, Silvernale is already confident about his future. He said he’ll have to start in local government after he graduates from college before he can make his way to the national level. He hopes serving on the Park Commission introduces him to “a lot of cool people,” but he also hopes to make a difference.

“This position will allow me to serve the city, parks and citizens,” he said.

Silvernale’s position as an alternate member means he will vote on issues during commission meetings only if one of the seven regular members is absent. Otherwise, he will help develop, maintain and upgrade parks. He is also looking forward to gathering input from fellow citizens.

“A lot of the current play equipment and park features cater to younger kids,” said Silvernale. “I would love to implement features that appeal to kids my age to get them to become more actively involved. It’s also important that we keep what we have looking nice and updated.”

Silvernale mentioned organized ball games as a potential feature to attract teenagers. He hopes his youth will represent more of the community and bring a fresh perspective to the Park Commission.

Contact Amanda White at [email protected]