NC’s youngest public official is pretty tall on TikTok

MATTHEWS, NC — Ken McCool’s Wednesday nights are usually quite busy.

He gathers his team to create videos for TikTok.

“I watch these trending sounds, trending hashtags, trending dance videos… anything that’s popular, I really write it down,” says team member Julia Drago.

Creating an account, building a team, and making videos is a mix of fun and hard work.

“It’s a great way to connect with young people. I’m just helping to bridge that gap,” McCool says.

McCool is no ordinary 22-year-old player.

He serves on the board of commissioners for the city of Matthews, making him the youngest public servant in North Carolina.

“My first year in office was a pandemic, economic hardship, lots of difficult conversations about how we close the gap about what we do with future generations,” he says. “Then we had police brutality, so we had to approach that from a city perspective, so it was an interesting first term.”

But thanks to TikTok, he has found a way to not only solve the city’s problems, but also to interest young people in local politics.

“I get emails and texts saying ‘hey, where can I go to watch a town meeting, and hey, how do I get involved? “Said McCool. “(It’s) really great and what we wanted to do.”

McCool also gets to meet his supporters, like 16-year-old Olivia Hamilton.

“It was crazy, because it wasn’t like I was looking for someone in Matthews. He was just in my ‘for you’ page,” Hamilton says. “I see people from Canada seeing him, from California, from around the world seeing him all the time, and I think that’s so cool because not only does he inspire people in Matthews, but he inspires people around the world to make a change.”

Despite what it looks like on TikTok, being a public servant is a lot of work.

But it’s work that can bring a lot of change, and it’s something McCool is grateful to do.

“I’m able to have a voice in this, and I’m able to help make those changes that are going to move us forward,” McCool says.

Some of McCool’s videos on TikTok have gotten over 200,000 views.

McCool says that in addition to being a commissioner, he also paints local businesses and buildings and coaches baseball.

He was appointed to the position of the Board of Commissioners after he was released in February 2020. His term will continue until December 2021.

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