Opinion

For Homelessness, Preventing Climate Change, and Mental Health, Berkeley Needs Aidan Hill as Mayor

Young people are the ones leading the fight for political reform. From the students who refused to obey segregation laws in Greensboro in 1960, to the thousands of children who walked out of school to demand gun reform in 2018, social and political progress has always been driven by youth. A sense of urgency and the vision of an ideal future for all people has propelled young dreamers to the forefront of the current political dialogue. 27-year-old Aidan Hill is one of those dreamers. 

As a recent UC Berkeley graduate and the youngest Berkeley mayoral candidate, Hill vocalizes the need for additional support in historically marginalized communities, and amplifies youth voices in areas like environmental justice and climate change.

Our generation faces problems vastly different to those of generations prior. We deserve a leader who will stand in solidarity with the hundreds of Berkeley students who face poverty, sexual abuse, and mental illness. Whereas older candidates will never fully understand the problems accompanying this technological era, Hill recognizes the difficulties in navigating social situations and transitioning to online education. Hill also wants to allocate more resources towards mental health counseling. 

One of the most frustrating things about being a teenager during a time of such great political upheaval is the way we seem to be constantly neglected by our politicians. We’ve been shouting for climate reform our whole lives, but so many authority figures still can’t seem to hear us. Hill has been in our position and deeply understands the importance of youth engagement and advocacy. With Hill, we will be heard. 

The crisis of homelessness and the plight of food and housing insecurity in Berkeley communities is a focus for Hill. Having experienced the difficulties of rising prices first-hand, Hill recognizes their responsibility to address the impacts of poverty on marginalized populations. They commit to providing long-term housing subsidies for low-income families and are making local infrastructure and services a priority. We can’t keep pushing issues of homelessness and poverty aside, and with Hill, we have the power to elect a mayor who can serve the needs of our city and community.

Along with shifting city funds to aid the housing crisis in Berkeley, Hill represents a green future. They plan to improve public transportation and advocate for environmental justice on every front. With half of the state on fire, we can’t afford to be complacent. We must take climate action now, and Hill is more than capable of leading efforts forward.

Although Hill’s vision for a more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable future is inspiring, their commitment to shifting the systems which guide the change is most compelling. As the first legally non-binary person to run for elected office in the United States, according to their website, they recognize the importance of dismantling the cis-patriarchal structures that bar gender diverse populations from politics. We need to change how change is made, and Hill is more than ready to take that step.

It’s easy to choose the incumbent. With name recognition, campaign experience, and an established voter base, those running for a second term are the safest choice. That’s not what we need right now. We’re at the crossroads of a housing crisis and an environmental catastrophe, and we need somebody who will fight for the people. We need Aidan Hill.

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