- Associated Press - Saturday, October 18, 2014

DACONO, Colo. (AP) - Jory Coates is running for Dacono City Council, but if he walks into Johnny D’s Bar and Grill north of city hall, he’ll have to stick to soda.

Coates, 18, is a recent graduate of Frederick High School and works as one of two de facto managers at Hammer Time Pizza in Frederick.

“I’m just a pizza boy that makes pizzas, does customer service, you know,” Coates said. “I’m just a normal dude.”

Normal, except most 18-year-olds aren’t running for city office in the upcoming election.

Coates said he was prompted to run by a father figure and former councilmember, Steve Bruno.

When Bruno’s term in council ended and he moved to Wyoming, he encouraged Coates to file a petition to run for council.

“He thought I would be good at it and he kind of wanted me to take over for him,” Coates said. “I have a lot of friends, you know, doing something with their lives. They’re going to college, going into the Army. I wanted to do something productive.”

Coates is running against incumbent councilmember Peggy Randolph, who declined to provide her age, and another challenger, Deborah Nasta, 55. Coates, Randolph and Nasta are running for two open seats - Randolph’s and another seat in the six-member council elected at-large.

To campaign, Coates said he has spent about $100 that he earned at his pizza job to buy signs and posters and has been going door-to-door to tell people about his candidacy.

“I’ve been talking to neighbors, and it’s nerve-wracking going door to door,” Coates said “They see some teenage guy asking them to vote for him, so it’s a little scary to me.”

If elected, Coates said he expected to be much more comfortable in office than campaigning. He said watching a contentious August council meeting unfold solidified his decision to run for council.

At that meeting, Councilmember Gen Schneider vehemently and unsuccessfully debated against leasing the city’s excess water to oil and gas companies, a proposal that Mayor Charles Sigman, Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Plain and Randolph supported.

“The idea that I could be up there and make a difference and take a side, it would be incredible,” Coates said, adding that he thinks he would look forward to researching issues and learning on the job. “It’s frustrating sitting on the sidelines and not being able to do anything.”

Coates said the closest thing he has to a platform is a desire to talk to residents in the older Glens area of the city and Hispanic residents about their concerns.

The current council “might not think anything about raising taxes a little bit but to other people that could make a big difference in their budget,” Coates said. “A lot of Dacono is not that wealthy. It’s not poor, but it’s not doing great for yourself, and I don’t think that’s represented as much in council.”

Coates’ one worry, however, about possibly serving on the council is working around school. He wants to start studying in Longmont to be an emergency medical technician next semester but doesn’t know if it’s possible to later study nursing and live in Dacono.

“For sure, I’m going to be going to Longmont back and forth for my school, and then I can live in Dacono doing that if I want to,” Coates said. “But if I want to be go on and be a nurse, I might have to go to Boulder.”


Information from: Daily Times-Call, https://timescall.com/

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