Teenage Candidate For Mayor Poised To Unify A Town Divided

ADEL, Iowa  --  It's no secret that Adel is growing at a rapid pace.  As 2017 ADM High School graduate Carter Nordman, 19, continues to grow himself, he is also running for mayor.

"The mayor is there just like a governorship, to provide leadership for the city and to ensure the city is heading in the right direction," said Nordman.

In 2016 and under current mayor of 26 years Jim Peters, Adel saw a record $35 million in new home construction, but Nordman says there's an underlying problem that has come with large growth.

"Our facilities are overused. Our police and fire can't adequately protect our citizens because they aren't getting the resources needed because there is no new avenue for them to get those resources."

Not shying away from the issues that matter most, Carter says he's ready to tackle the controversial annexation issue recently put on hold and the tax abatement program that has the entire city at odds.  He said, "Our city is completely divided in half.  There is so much hate, so much anger, mostly with our elected officials that I would almost feel bad not running."

Traditionalists may have their reservations about a teenage mayor. However, Adel voters seem to think age is nothing but a number, and Nordman has experience as a leader--he served as the State Director for Iowa Students For Trump during the 2016 presidential election.

Adel resident  Ben Johns said, "If they have a heart and mind for public service and a good head on their shoulders and open to ideas, I think it's great.  I don't think age has to play a factor in it."

Youthful candidates are nothing new in Adel.  In 2016, then 23-year-old Bryce Smith unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Iowa House of Representatives 19th District.  When it comes to young politicians in Adel, there must be something in the water.

"I call it a double-edged sword," said Bryce who is now serving as the Chair of the Dallas County Democratic Central Committee. He added, "You have to prove yourself, as in you know what you want to do and what the job entails and then also convincing older people that you are capable of doing the job."

While his shoulders may be used to the straps of a backpack filled with class assignments, Nordman says they are also willing to shoulder the load Adel needs to thrive in the future.  He said, "What I would tell the people of Adel is that I am ready for this. I'm ready to be their voice at City Hall. One they have not had in a while."

Nordman plans to remain living in Adel and commute to college at DMACC once the fall semester begins.