As a 23-year-old candidate for Des Moines City Council, he raised eyebrows. Next week, other young candidates will hope to follow in Halley Griess’s footsteps.
Though fresh out of college when elected, the education of Griess had only just begun.
“There’s a steep learning curve, and I really had to learn through fire,” said the Ward 1 councilman, who was just 23 at the time.
If learning the job wasn’t the hard part, doing it certainly was.
“I would say in terms of meetings, emails, phone calls—probably 20 to 25 hours a week,” he estimated.
That’s in addition to the council meetings themselves. A tough job that pays about $12 an hour at best. You’d guess that Griess might be the last young professional to want it.
“I really want to run and give back to this city!”
Or maybe not.
30-year-old attorney, Sean Bagniewski is running in Ward 1, 32-year-old Chris Diebel is in a tight race for the at-large seat.
Both will play up the youth angle, as Griess did.
“I’ve been a 24/7 candidate, I want to be a 24/7 councilperson as well,” Bagniewski said.
“New ideas are always good,” Griess added, “that’s what I said when I ran.”
Still just 27, Halley Griess is not running for re-election. He’s now the father of three, and his age is, in a way, now working against him.
“I love being involved in what’s happening in the community, just right now, for where I’m at, with my kids (ages 4, 2, and 7 weeks)–I can’t get that time back, so I want to spend that with them while they’re young.”
He plans to return someday to politics, but for now, others will play the youth card and hope that, like Griess, their youthful inexperience is overshadowed by their energy.