NC’s youngest public official doubles as a viral TikTok creator

NC’s youngest public official doubles as a viral TikTok creator

Courtesy Matt Pascale/ Town of Matthews

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Ken McCool, a 22-year-old commissioner from Matthews, created a TikTok account to reach young constituents. He wound up reaching people all over the world.

Why it matters: In the last year TikTok has gone from almost-banned to the go-to social media platform for Gen Z and younger millennials.

TikTok was an avenue to get young people involved, McCool tells me, “and see that local politics really matter and really impact their lives.”

@commissionermccoolFollow to stay on KenTok! #fyp #politics #northcarolina♬ When I wuz ur man remix – Paul Russell

What’s happening: McCool, who started posting daily TikTok videos (@commissionermccool) in mid-February, has already gone viral, and he has multiple videos with over 100,000 views.

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“I have a lot of fun making them. I’m still very taken aback by how much it’s grown in such a short period of time,” McCool says.

Matthews town commission, tiktok, youngest public official nc, Ken McCool swearing in

McCool’s swearing in ceremony. Courtesy Ken McCool.

Background: Matthews town commissioners are nonpartisan positions, and McCool is a registered independent. He says he’s always been interested in politics, but decided to get involved when he noticed elected officials weren’t making decisions that reflected the desires of their constituents.

“There was a pattern of the same faces being elected over and over and no real changes being made. It felt like the whole wasn’t being heard, it felt like the few,” he says.

The 22-year-old ran for Matthews commission in 2019, and lost by 13 votes. He was appointed to the commission a year ago after another commissioner resigned. He recently announced that he plans to run for re-election this fall.

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