He’s still not old enough to go out for a drink or rent a car, but 20-year-old Jacob Newby is close to wrapping up his second year as a government official in Addison Township.
Newby didn’t have the years of experience that his counterparts did when he was elected to office in November 2016, but he’s been working hard to change that by listening, learning and doing his homework.
“I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “I’ve taken a lot of training and learned from the people around me, especially our township supervisor (Bruce Pearson) and township clerk (Pauline Bennett). I’ve really appreciated the job and the township having so much faith in me.”
Newby says the campaign trail along with the acts of knocking on doors and getting to know voters was what kept him going through the campaign and is what gave him a bigger heart for serving his neighbors.
“I learned a lot during my campaign as I was knocking on doors and talking to people,” he said. “One of the things I learned most was (the importance of) listening to people about what they’re looking for in their elected officials. I’ve been just trying to live up to that.”
While he’s been in office, Newby has participated in as many training sessions as he can, which have focused on topics like zoning and planning, as well as attending conferences and working with the other members of the Township Board.
Currently, he’s working with Addison’s neighboring Bruce Township to take shared responsibility of Dequindre Rd., which runs partially through Addison but is controlled by Macomb County.
Newby worked on getting the township to contribute funds to improve the road over the next few years, which will, he says, ultimately benefit residents of both townships.
“It’s a pretty big road improvement,” he said. “I’m pretty proud of that.”
Newby said his two years in local politics haven’t cemented a desire for him shoot for higher office at the national level, but it has given him a desire to pursue a career in public service.
“I figure as the time goes on I’ll figure out where I should go, and I’ll do my best to be elected to whatever position that is,” he said. “I don’t know about being a politician, but my time in Addison has certainly taught me about being a public servant. I love looking at this community’s needs. I don’t know if I’d ever want to be a politician, but I’d definitely like to be a public servant.”