Jacqui Boggess / Staff Writer
Have you ever wondered if a young person can really make a difference in politics? Then Chabot College student, Ryan Belden is a person you should meet. Being only at young age of 24 he has already had a vast political career that seems to keep growing. Growing up he has always had a passion for his city that he has grown up in, he said he wants to keep it a nice place to live for future generations by being mayor of Hayward.
JB: How did you first get into politics?
RB: I have always had a military career in mind but I first became interested in politics because of my grandmother. One day when I was 17 she found out about phone bankers jobs for the cities school board and she knew it would be something it would be interested in. Then in 2004, I campaign for the local school but I became part of the Kerry / Edwards where I went door to door asking for donations for campaign, where I learned so much about social economics. Then in 2006, I campaigned for John Dutra for State Senate. In 2007, I went to the American Civil Liberties Union, but left because of personal beliefs. In 2008, I went to work for the Obama campaign where I did volunteer and walked door to door for two weeks. Currently, I’m working for Bob Wickcowski, who is a progressive Democrat. I’m one of the top people in the office, I organized volunteer schedules.
JB:Why do you want to be mayor of Hayward?
RB: One day I was in Newark and I met this man when I walking door to door campaigning asked me where I was from and I replied and told him I was from Hayward and this gentleman told me that the Tri-Cities in the area referred Hayward to being Oakland Jr. because of the upward crime rate, when I heared this I felt upset because I care and love my city and I don’t want it to be full of crime. I want to change it. Hayward has a lot of problems that can be fixed. I see Hayward as a unhealthy heart, its dirty having trouble beating much like a smokers heart, but if we fix the problem it can become healthy again and beat better then it did before.
JB: If you do become major what are the changes that you have in mind for Hayward?
RB: First I would want to help lower the crime rate, and how you do is to educate the youth. I would want to set up a youth center where kids can go to have help with their homework but also have fun. The city of Fermont has a center called Math and Science Nucleus and its very beneficial to the city. Also we have so many empty buildings in downtown that we can use for a location for the education center. Next I want to have more business to move back in to Hayward, and maybe we can give business owners a small tax break. I also would want more police in Hayward and I would ask CHP to help patrol more parts of Hayward. My last point is to make Hayward more of a college town, We have 2 higher education schools but by the looks of it you wouldn’t know it. We need to attrack people to the city and increase the quietly of life for the citizens.
JB: Do you think you are going to really win?
RB: I have learned in every campaign is you have to have a winning outlook, if you don’t at least try to have a winning outlook what is the point of trying.
JB: If you win, how will you mange your school life and your duties as mayor?
RB: I’m going to continue my education at Chabot and also work for the city, when its time for me to transfer I will go to school locally so I can see the success of Hayward through.
JB: How can people get involved and where can they learn how to vote?
RB: You can just stop by your local DMV or city hall to pick up forms to vote, all you have to do is send it through the mail. Its very simple and only takes a few minutes to file out.
JB: Do you have any personal thoughts about the campaign?
RB: I want to help provided a better quality of life for everyone in Hayward, and currently things need some work. If you want to see a change you must help change the situation.