Teenager makes history in village government

Local News

TILTON, Ill. (WCIA) — Politics and government aren’t usually the first things on a teenager’s mind, but one 19-year old accomplished a first in village history.

Thursday night, Ryan Washkowiak became the youngest member on the Tilton Village Board. Mayor Dave Phillips appointed him and says he’s an outstanding young man who has proven to be a leader in Tilton already.

Jokingly Phillips said, “We’re all getting too old to serve on this board.” 

Jokes about age aside, Phillips made a bold move at this board meeting. He appointed Washkowiak to become the village’s newest trustee. 

Washkowiak said, “Absolutely it’s always been something that’s a goal of mine.” 

But this nomination came as a surprise to him.

“I wasn’t expecting to get into office this soon.” 

When Mayor Phillips was asked why he thought this young man was qualified to take on this responsibility, his response was immediate.

Phillips said, “Why wouldn’t I? He’s been outstanding in the community, his promotion, he’s vocal, and that’s what we need.”

Washkowiak has spent a lot of time volunteering in Tilton.

“I plan a 5-K and car show for cancer. This will be our third year in August. We do the ending cancer in July, and we do a toy drive for kids in the community.”

For years he’s sat in on board meetings. Now he takes his official seat as a trustee. As for his lack of experience in government, he sees it as a chance to learn about something he has a passion for. 

“I’m going to lean on everybody that’s up there because they’re veterans who have served multiple terms on the board. So that’s where I’ll look for insight.”

Washkowiak says he cares about Tilton and the people who live in the town where he was born and raised. He’s honored and proud to serve them in this way. 

He was appointed as a trustee until Tilton’s next election in 2020. At that time he’ll have to re-run for his seat on the board.

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