For students in grades 4-12, what would you want to see in Philomath if you were the mayor? Our local mayor, Chas Jones, wants to know through your participation in a contest. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Mayor Chas Jones wants to hear from local students. Yes, kids, this is your chance to share your thoughts on how you would govern the city of Philomath. The “If I Were Mayor” contest is now open with your entries due by March 31.

The deadline to enter is March 31. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The Oregon Mayors Association each year hosts the statewide contest, which begins at the local level with community entries. The winning entries will be submitted to the League of Oregon Cities to compete for statewide prize and recognition.

There are three categories based on grade level:

• Elementary School (grades 4-5) — Poster contest. An image of the poster can be a PNG, JPG/JPEG, BMP or PDF file.

• Middle School (grades 6-8)  — Essay contest. Word, PDF, PowerPoint or online essay format accepted.

• High School (grades 9-12) — Digital media presentations. Videos only, MP4 or online video.

To enter, head to this spot online. For more details, check out this webpage.

Sit down and give it some thought. Maybe brainstorm with your families and friends. Topics could revolve around things like the environment, health, public safety, social services and hey, maybe youth programs would be a good one. What would you focus on if you were wearing the mayor’s hat?

“This is a great opportunity to offer students the chance to learn more about public service and local government, and a chance to voice their ideas,” Jones said.

The winning submissions will be recognized during a City Council meeting, receive an invitation to have lunch with the mayor and receive gift cards to their Philomath restaurant. And if the entry goes on to win in the statewide competition, more cool prizes are awarded, including cash and an appearance at the OMA Summer Conference this August in Hood River.

By the way, the mayor said he’s willing to chat with any Philomath students or their classroom about the experiences that he’s had governing the city. The mayor and council members might even consider any feasible ideas for actual implementation in Philomath.

Heck, I’ll even take a photo of the winners and feature you in a Philomath News story (how’s that for an incentive).

Good luck to those who plan to put in the effort and allow the creativity to flow.

(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.