While many GW students might have political aspirations, few actually decide to run for political office at 18 years old.
Ytit Chauhan, a first-generation Indian-American, ran for city council in Atlantic City, N.J., this November. Chauhan’s campaign was filmed for a documentary produced by Worldwide Pants Inc., which is owned by late night talk show host David Letterman.
“At the beginning it was very hard to get used to,” said Chauhan, a sophomore. “They would film me from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed. But it eventually became second nature.”
The documentary follows five students between the ages of 18 and 20 running for public office. Two of the participants ran for mayor, two for city council and one for a school board.
“Our company believes that creativity comes in all forms, and we’re excited about how this project portrays young people taking control of their own destinies in a way that’s both innovative and inspiring,” said Rob Burnett, president and CEO of Worldwide Pants in a news release.
The film will be the first documentary and non-comedic output from the production company. Previously, the company has produced shows such as “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Ed.”
Though Chauhan lost the election this year, the experience was still worthwhile..
“It was a three-way election, and I received 10 percent of the vote,” said Chauhan. “Not many young people run for office themselves. It was eye-opening to see how real politics work.”
Besides being a young candidate, Chauhan faced other problems including a lack of funding and organization, he said.
“I was focused on big issues, issues of corruption and bringing in change,” Chauhan said. “Since I was running for city council in a medium-sized city, people weren’t worried about the big things. It’s really the small issues that matter.”
He added, “If you are interested in running for office, you have to study the issues. You don’t have to have positions on every issue, but just know what the issues are. (People) don’t want someone who has all the answers, they just want someone they can trust.”
GW sophomore Tim Lawton, helped Chauhan with his campaign.
“It was interesting, because you weren’t working for someone that you look up to like some figure,” Lawton said. “It was your friend, so it was more personal.”
Chauhan said he plans to finish his undergraduate degree before he runs again in the future.
This article appeared in the November 19, 2007 issue of the Hatchet.