Four years ago, in 2015, a young 13-year-old Hunter Rivera sat in a political science class at AIMS Community College, as a freshman at Windsor Charter Academy. Rivera’s life took a new trajectory after the teacher gave introductions to Senator John Cook, Harry Bach, and Governor Hickenlooper. The meetings sparked Hunter’s passion for public service so much that the 17-year-old Hunter Rivera announced his candidacy for Mayor of Windsor, Colorado, in the April 2020 election.
Hunter Rivera‘s interest in politics started at a young age. Hunter says, “I guess the best way that I could say it is, at a young age, you are told you can grow up to be anything. You want to be an astronaut or the president, and when they said president, that kind of stuck with me.”
Rivera ran for fifth-grade student council president, sixth-grade student council vice-president, eighth-grade student council president, and ninth grade president. “I’ve run for president every year at my school and only successful once. I’m currently the student council president,” Hunter said. “I’ve gone through losing the student council elections. I went through being bullied in seventh grade. I’ve been going through being told no. Right now, I’ve been told that I’m way too young to run for mayor. I am always told I can’t do it. I want everyone to know that you can prove people wrong when they tell you no. Persevere.”
Hunter went to Boy’s State through the American Legion in the summer of 2019. Rivera returned with a new vision and a hope to change the problems in his community. Hunter committed to making a difference where he has lived his whole life.
Some issues Rivera wants to tackle:
- Infrastructure. “I think that’s a problem in Northern Colorado in general but especially in Windsor. I feel like we don’t have the infrastructure to support another 10 to 20 thousand people. Expected growth is at 40 50 thousand people in the next 10 20 years, and we don’t have the infrastructure to support that.”
- Promoting local business. “To keep the economy going well in Windsor. I think we need to find an industry; ever since Kodak went out of business, we still haven’t had an industry like that that can support jobs for many of the people who live in Windsor. People commute down to Denver over to Fort Collins. I think it’s terrific to have the money in Windsor.”
- Cut sales taxes. “I hope to get taxes down by a little bit and try to do whatever we can to bring as many more people into Windsor while we can.”
The only criteria for age and holding office in Windsor, Colorado, is you have to be 18 when you’re inaugurated. Hunter turns 18 on March 30th, the elections are on April 7th, and there will be a one month overlap of being in High School and being mayor if elected. Hunter says, “my take on everything is a different perspective, I come from definitely a younger generation, so I think that that is a factor.” He is recruiting the support of his peers, also turning 18 this year. As new voters, he hopes to be the first cast of their approval at the poles.
Hunter struggles with people outside his community running. Rivera says, “it hurts because it seems like they want to bring in their own state ideals, but this is my home, and I feel like that’s something that we have to protect. Keep Colorado, Colorado.” Hunter adds, “I love the people here. I think everyone all has unique experiences, and I don’t think I’ve met a single person in Windsor that I dislike.”