The ink on 22-year-old Eric Duncan’s bachelor of arts degree in political science will barely be dry when he’s sworn in as North Dundas’s youngest ever mayor in early December.
Uncertain he would become head of the council when he ran his “new blood, new ideas, new energy” campaign this fall, Duncan nevertheless won the mayoral race October 25 with a landslide.
“I cracked down at school this summer so I could get that feather in my cap before running for mayor,” says Duncan.
The Winchester resident began his political science program at Carleton in 2005 as a full-time student and then prolonged his studies after winning a seat on North Dundas council during his second year, at the age of 19.
He continues to work as an aide to Conservative MP Guy Lauzon and is a former aide to Ontario Conservatives Jim Flaherty and Norm Sterling.
He credits his motivation to get involved in public service to his parents and grandparents – “They were always talking business and were involved in the community” – and to Carleton’s “very personable” professors.
“Carleton is a very hands-on school and has several excellent networking opportunities, which is instrumental in terms of getting a job when you are done,” he says.
While Duncan is eyeing Carleton’s new political management program, possibly for some time in the future, for now he is going to focus on his political career. He also intends to continue to give talks at high schools to encourage young people to pursue their dreams.
Duncan believes the reason he received 72 per cent of the vote is due to a growing trend to want to see young people in public service.
Nevertheless, he expects as a 20-something mayor, he will be under the magnifying glass. He says he intends to use Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson’s leadership style as a model for his own census-based, pragmatic approach as North Dundas’s mayor.