HOUSTON (FOX 26) — A Stratford High School senior and gun reform activist says he is ready to take the next step and campaign for Houston City Council.
Marcel McClinton, 17, is challenging Council member Michael Kubosh for the At-Large Position 3 seat. One of McClinton's campaign advisors include the former campaign manager for Beto O'Rourke, the 2018 Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas
"I have so much love for my city and I want to make change now and tomorrow," McClinton told FOX 26 News. He recalled the experience that led him to activism. In May of 2016, a gunman terrorized a west Houston neighborhood, killing a man and injuring several others.
McClinton was 14 years old and teaching Sunday school when it all happened.
"It was a terrible experience," said McClinton. "And we had to hide the kids and shelter them and then I sat for an hour as he shot off rounds."
After the school shootings in Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe in 2018, McClinton started to become involved in politics.
"I love the activism side of politics," added McClinton. "I love being able to connect with someone and amplify their story." He told FOX 26 he was inspired to run for office after being a part of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's Commission Against Gun Violence.
"I found that there's so many issues going on in the city that we don't talk about every day," said McClinton.
Turner said he couldn't comment on McClinton's campaign but is happy to see young people civically engaged.
Kubosh said he is looking forward to meeting McClinton.
"I'm a grandpa and I love young people," Kubosh told FOX 26. "And it'd be fun to meet him. Everybody has the right to run so I look to this coming season."
McClinton said believes his age and experience will resonate with students and families who fear gun violence in schools and their communities. Kubosh added that he understands that fear too. He was in school during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
"I remember President Kennedy being on TV and the fear that we all felt that we could be in a nuclear attack," responded Kubosh.
Besides gun violence, McClinton said he's also interested in issues like human trafficking, transportation, flood control, and the budget deficit. He plans to start at a local college in January and study finance.
McClinton turns 18 years old in July — in time for the filing deadline.
"I will make it just in time to beat Mr. Kubosh," McClinton said happily. His first campaign event is in two weeks at his high school.