REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond middle school student could be out for Mayor George Endicott’s job. Riley Latta, a 12-year-old seventh grader at Redmond Proficiency Academy, recently won the statewide “If I were Mayor” contest. Mayor Endicott tells KBND News, "Our winner at the middle school category – that’s an essay – he won in the city; that then went to the state and there’s then an independent board that looks at all of those essays." Endicott was impressed by Latta's submission, "I’ve never seen an essay like his. Most of them say, ‘well, if I were Mayor I’d do this; if I were Mayor I’d do that.’ He said, ‘I’m going to consider four essential characteristics a Mayor should have, and then I will show you how you could apply them to do a better job in Redmond’.”
Latta says his inspiration came from his own life. "I came up with a list of traits that I possess and that could be helpful as Mayor. From there, I chose ideas that would go into those ideas that would go in to those traits. Then, I wrote about those ideas and how we could accomplish them." Those traits were "Helpfulness, kindness, encouragement and being a visionary." His ideas range from creating a food pantry in partnership with area grocery stores, to providing incentives for acts of kindness and reducing the city's reliance on fossil fuels, "I want to have stores be able to provide free reusable bags, so we would save plastic in order to protect the environment. We could also find alternative ways to use solar and wind power in your own backyard; that would save having to use fossil fuels. We could be the first town to run on green energy and not completely rely on non-renewable resources."
He says he has considered running for office someday; after all, his grandfather was Mayor of Chillicothe, a small town in Illinois, for eight years. Latta was presented his first place award at last month's Oregon Mayors Association summer conference in Florence, Oregon. He received an Apple iPad Air2 and accessories, courtesy of Facebook.
Photo: (L-R) Redmond Mayor George Endicotte, Riley Latta and Tigard Mayor John Cook, OMA President