Gen Z takes political stage

After his family traveled to Peoria via the railroad in the 1920′s, Alex Sierra is now in charge
Celebrating a year in public service and he says he's just getting started.
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 7:27 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2022 at 12:14 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - More and more young people, especially in GEN Z, are entering politic, by either running for office or serving on campaigns.

Just a year after being appointed to the Peoria Park District Board of Trustees, one of it’s youngest members is making a path for the next generation to hold public office.

Our Morning Reporter Brett Brooks met up with Alex Sierra and brings the story his full circle moment.

After serving on the campaigns of a few national candidates, Alex Sierra was sworn-in during Summer 2021 to serve on the Peoria Park District Board of Trustees.

He says it was a great moment to feel the support of his family who settled in Peoria just two generations ago from Leon, Mexico.

“It was hard for me because my grandfather wasn’t there but it was a proud moment for me because even though he wasn’t there in person, I was still able to have him in my arms. I actually held a picture of my grandfather and I when I got sworn into the park board,” says Sierra.

One year into the job, he says he cannot forget the shoulders he is standing on, “so my grandfather was a First-Generation American. His parents had traveled here to Peoria on railroad work when the railroad was really boosting our local economy.”

Sierra says his grandfather gave him his strong work ethic, “he would unload coca-cola bottles from the Griswold corner store for 15 cents an hour.”

The full circle moment for Sierra is his Peoria Park Board District is the same area where his grandfather used to work, “my swearing-in on the Park Board marked the first Afro-Latino, the first Mexican specifically to ever serve on the Park District Trustees. The youngest individual to ever serve on the Peoria Park District Board of Trustees. The youngest Afro-Latino, specifically Mexican, to serve in any public office here in our region specifically in Peoria.”

The Manual High School graduate tells Heart of Illinois since taking office, he’s worked to learn from the trustees he serves alongside.

“In my one year, I’ve learned so much. Our board is very well rounded with individuals that are versed in environmental justice, that are versed in contractual services, that are versed in racial injustice, that are also versed in finance. I’m blessed to learn from people on my board, to be honest,” explains Sierra.

Working to end the food deserts on the South Side and making it easier for minority-owned businesses to grow are just two of the efforts he’s taken on and he says he’s just getting started, “it’s great to be the first but it tells me we have a lot more work which needs to be done. We still live in an era of firsts and while that is an honor. I don’t want it to be the standard.”

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