Travis Nez, an 18-year-old from Phillips, Wisconsin, was sworn in today on the Price County Board of Supervisors.

Native Teen Wins Seat on Wisconsin Board

ICTMN Staff
4/17/12

As of today Travis Nez will not only be a high school student, but he’s also be the youngest member ever on the Price County Board of Supervisors.

It’s a lot of responsibility for an 18-year-old, but Nez says he’s ready for it. “I see many people my age join the military where they will have way more responsibilities than I will have on the county board.”

Nez, who is Navajo and a citizen of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, beat his opponent, businessman John Reardon, with 63 percent of the votes.

Nez was sworn in this morning, and in a month he graduates from Phillips High School in Phillips, Wisconsin.

He’s looking forward to bringing a “fresh, new outlook” to his two-year term as supervisor, and told other news outlets that he ran because he saw his county headed in the wrong direction.

“Our county in the past decade has had a 10 percent population loss, average per cap income has gone down, and young people are leaving the area because family supporting jobs are limited,” he told Indian Country Today Media Network. “Taxes are being raised on the elders in the county who have limited incomes.”

Nez thought it was time someone stood up and did something about it.

“Many of our government’s problems are being put on the backs of the next generation and it’s putting a strain on our future,” he said. “I wanted to stand up for the next generation of Price County.”

Nez hopes the national and state attention his win has garnered will attract job creators to Price County.

His parents, Nathaniel and Sally Nez, couldn’t be prouder of their son and his accomplishments.

And those accomplishments don’t start with winning the seat on the board of supervisors. Travis started a hunting and fishing guide business in 2007 and has already been taking classes at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau, Wisconsin. Once he graduates from high school, he will be commuting to Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Ashland, Wisconsin. He plans on studying business management so he can someday own his own commercial real estate company. He already has his Wisconsin Real Estate License.

He wants other Native American students interested in politics to go for it. “Don’t let what other people think stop you, run on your message and work as hard as you can on your campaign and if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be,” he said.

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