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Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Friday, 11 November 2005

US high school teen elected mayor

US school buses
Michael Sessions will still have to go to school despite being elected

An 18-year-old American is about to combine high school with politics - by becoming mayor of his home town.

Michael Sessions - who last year ran for his school council and lost - has been elected mayor of Hillsdale, a town of 8,200 in the US state of Michigan.

He ousted the 51-year-old incumbent in a campaign costing $700 (400) paid for by a summer job selling toffee apples.

Mr Sessions says he intends to carry on studying through his four-year term and will go to town meetings after class.

He is due to take up the part-time position, which offers a $3,600 (2,070) stipend, on 21 November.

Homework

Since beating incumbent Douglas Ingles, he has become an overnight celebrity, giving media interviews and appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman.

He seems to have won over voters with his enthusiasm, despite his obvious youth.

Map showing Hillsdale, Michigan

"They'd look at me and say 'How old are you again?'," he said, explaining he went on to tell them his ideas for attracting money and jobs to the town.

To make matters harder, the teenager had not turned 18 before the deadline for filing his name for the ballot paper had passed.

Undeterred, he went to the town hall to register as a voter on his birthday and a week later declared he would run a write-in campaign.

This meant spending the next month going door-to-door with business cards and a sample ballot to show people where to write in his name on polling day.

Although the day-to-day running of the town will continue to fall to the city manager, Mr Sessions will have to attend two meetings a month after school.

Peter Beck, principal of Hillsdale High, is quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying: "I told him that if he wins, he'll still need to finish his homework... I'd hate to have to suspend a city official."

SEE ALSO
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01 Aug 05 |  Entertainment
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The politics of having fun
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