Earlier this month we received amazing news from our alumnus Marian Schreier – he had just been elected mayor of Tengen, a 4,500-strong community in southern Germany, near the Swiss border. Having just turned 25, Marian is also the country’s youngest mayor.
A member of the first class of BSG students starting their one-year MPP in 2012, Marian has previously studied political and administrative sciences at the University of Constance, Germany and has also worked for the UNEP Liaison office to the EU in Brussels. He is in good company, as the MPP Class of 2012 has already produced the youngest minister in the history of Yemen, Rafat Al-Akhali and a Sword of Honour cadet at the UK’s Royal Military Academy, Jonathan Beddall.
We could not resist the opportunity to ask Marian to share some insights about this impressive journey. Here’s what he said:
You’ve just won a mayoral election to become Germany’s youngest mayor. How do you feel?
I’m overwhelmed by the election result and excited about the tasks ahead. At the moment, I am in the midst of preparing for office – this is particularly interesting, as a mayor has to deal with a wide range of tasks, such as maintaining the water supply or developing a tourism concept. Secondly, I am following up with many media requests. The huge media attention in the region and Germany is a good chance to promote Tengen as an attractive tourist destination.
You won the election by a huge margin (70%), despite being seen as the “outside” candidate. To what do you attribute your success?
First of all, I was very surprised by the huge margin. Personally, I expected a very close race. There are several factors that contributed to my clear success. Primarily, I had a clear strategy that addressed the sentiment in Tengen and the strengths and weaknesses of my opponent. In developing the strategy, I relied heavily on the insights from the MPP – in particular the practical skills course on strategy and communication proved very helpful. For example, one of the key lessons of the course was to refine and adjust the strategy on a regular basis. I always had that in mind at critical junctures of the campaign. Secondly, it was key that I mobilised the youth. I organised a campaign event only for voters under thirty to talk about specific ‘youth issues’. Afterwards, many young citizens supported my campaign.
You’ll be taking up office on 20 May 2015. What’s top on your priority list to do once you are in office?
Two things are on top of my agenda in the first weeks and months. First and foremost, I will be working on a solution for the nursing home, which at the moment has an annual deficit of half a million Euro. Besides this, I want to initiate a conversation about the future of Tengen. More precisely, I want to develop a vision for the year 2030 together with the city council, the administration and the citizens. In my opinion, developing a vision for 2030 is of utmost importance because it will serve as a common ground for future decisions as well as a tool to plan policies beyond the time horizon of the electoral cycle. Finally, I hope that the conversation about the vision will motivate young citizens to take part in local politics and perhaps run for office at some point in the future.
We hope you will join us in congratulating Marian on such a great achievement. We wish him the best in his future task!