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This high school senior in the Texas Panhandle just won an election to earn a seat on his school district's board of trustees

The Claude High School senior won the election as a write-in candidate -- and by just 12 votes.
Credit: Carsen Roberts
18-year-old Carsen Roberts is now an elected member of the Clause ISD Board of Trustees.

CLAUDE, Texas — A school district near Amarillo will have a fresh perspective on their board of trustees after one graduating senior was elected to the board via write-in vote over the weekend.

Carsen Roberts, an 18-year-old senior at Claude High School, was elected to the Claude ISD Board of Trustees during the May 7 election, beating four other candidates. 

County election results show Roberts won with 158 votes, beating the runner-up the race, Lea Lee, by just 12 votes.

"I was a bit surprised I had actually won as a high school senior and I was a write-in candidate," Roberts said. "I beat out four other candidates!"

Roberts was forced to run as a write-in candidate because he didn't turn 18 until after the filing period for the campaign ended.

Despite his age, Roberts said he has for some time been very involved in politics -- both at his school and in local government. He is currently his class president at Claude High School, and he previously worked on several campaigns in 2020 and 2021, working for Republicans including U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) and 7th Court of Appeals Justice Larry Doss.

"I just felt like my insight and knowledge would help me bring a different perspective to the board," Roberts said.

Roberts said his main goal as a trustee is to better the infrastructure at Claude Independent School District, including repairing pipes, urinals and toilets across the district's campuses. He also hopes to improve on-campus safety across the district as well.

Running as a write-in candidate took a lot of footwork for Roberts.

"I went to every door in the town of Claude -- as well as two surrounding communities that vote -- and knocked on them and talked to people," he said. "If they didn’t answer, I’d put a flyer on their door, just trying to get out to as many people as I could get out to."

Roberts said politics had appealed to him since around the second grade, and that he has always wanted to serve people and have a purpose beyond just working a job.

"I enjoy being around people and interacting with them," Roberts said.

Might college take him away from the newly election position he just won, though? Not really, Roberts said. He graduates from high school at the end of this month, said he plans to stick close by, living in Claude while attending Amarillo College in hopes of eventually transferring to West Texas A&M University to study fire protection engineering.

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