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The Youngest Councilman

Ebook“You can’t fight city hall” and “children should be seen and not heard” are two adages tested in The Youngest Councilman. Fed up with the direction his hometown is taking, John McGuigan, a teenage college student, decides to run for the town’s council.

Not only is he running as a teenager, but he is also running against the incumbent president of council, an attorney, who holds a two-to-one registration edge and whose party has held power in the town for nearly twenty years.

Set in the county seat of one of Philadelphia’s (Pennsylvania) neighboring counties, Norristown politics are bare knuckle and in your face. So how would a teenager running his first race even come close to winning? Why would a teenager even want to run?

The Youngest Councilman briefly examines the path that led John to his decision to run and then takes us inside and behind the scenes of a political race which sent shockwaves statewide.

This incredible true story highlights that anyone willing to put in the work, look voters in the eye and share their story can win—city hall can be beaten!

About the Author

John McGuigan, as detailed in the book, in 1989 won a district council seat in Norristown to become the youngest elected official in Pennsylvania, and the youngest ever in Norristown (still true to this day).

John’s upset win changed the political control of the town. He quickly found himself as his party’s leader on the council as others changed political affiliations or left the council—all at twenty-years-old. John’s time on Norristown’s council coincided with the end of the longest serving councilman’s time (a sixty-year run) on the board, and several other colorful people who created many hard-to-believe stories.

After winning re-election and serving as the council’s president, John left public office to marry and start a family. While John served in party organizing roles, and volunteers in his community, he has not served in an elected capacity since being “council boy” in the 1990’s.

John lives in suburban Philadelphia where he and his wife (Lisa) raised their three children.

Join us at The Historical Society of Montgomery County on June 8, 2024 at 2:00 pm for a presentation and book signing by author John McGuigan.  This program is free and open to the public.