“ I am 18. And I am a college student.”
To hear such a sentence come from someone running for office is very unlikely. Not many of us would have thought of running for New York City’s comptroller at eighteen years old. In fact, the thought of even running for president may seem more likely, but comptroller, what does the comptroller even do? This question often goes unasked simply because most people don’t even think about this job.
According to the Office of New York City, the comptroller is New York City’s Chief Financial Officer. In other words, the comptroller’s responsibilities include “conducting performance and financial audits of all city agencies, providing comprehensive oversight of the city’s budget and fiscal condition, resolving claims both on behalf and against the city, ensuring transparency and accountability, in setting prevailing wage, etc.” This may seem like a lot on someone’s plate; however, the comptroller leads a staff of 800 employees who help make the comptroller’s job a lot easier.
If elected to New York City Comptroller, Alex Pan would be the youngest to ever hold such a high ranking position. The only instance in which an eighteen year old has held any sort of public office was Thomas DiNapoli, who served as a trustee on the New York Board of Education. Although Pan’s age attracts criticism as well as skepticism due to his lack of experience, Pan combats this by saying, “Every candidate is not perfectly suited.” Let’s be honest, no candidate is the perfect candidate. Therefore, Pan believes age is nothing but a number. Pan emphasizes that the comptroller’s position is not a job to be done alone, but in fact, it is a collective effort. His willingness to learn and grow throughout his candidacy and potential election is what distinguishes him from other candidates…. and his age. To be successful as comptroller, Pan asserts, “It is of necessity to have a good team. Without a team, you have no guidance.”
As far as policy, Pan plans to institute an education plan that will have an “expansive authority audit on the NYC Department of Education, ensure the effective use of resources and push for desegregated and equitable systems for students and parents.” Ensuring that the dollars in America’s rescue plan are being properly utilized is Pan’s main priority. The meaningless spending can save the city money, and in fact, this money can be invested into schools and future opportunities for our youth. A plan of transparency, allowing all to see where our money is allocated, is all Pan wants to establish. Pan reminds us, “I am a real public servant. I want to serve you.”
Pan is the son of working immigrants, a college student, and a civically engaged individual. Pan credits his obsession with service through his first job as a groundskeeper at the New York City Housing Authority through SYEP. Pan concludes, “Nothing flashy, not an established politician, no ulterior motive.” Pan makes it known that “you come first.”
For more on Alex Pan, follow him on Instagram @panfornyc.
Leave a Reply