Fresh from her first few meetings as Tigard’s new youth city councilor, Madi Vogel is getting familiar with the conversation and growing gradually more comfortable adding her voice to it.
“In this position, you have to work with a lot of adults and (get comfortable) speaking your mind, which can be hard, even for me, and I feel like I’m pretty extroverted,” the Tigard High School junior said. “As the weeks go on, I feel like I’m just going to get more and more equipped to handle that type of thing. I’m thankful that I’m learning all these skills. They’re going to be very useful.”
Vogel, the fourth student to fill this seat since the position was created in 2019, followed her passion for politics to the council. Youth Councilors have a seat at the table, adding crucial perspectives that older colleagues might otherwise overlook.
“The city works hard to make sure that they are listening and adapting to what they’re hearing from the youth,” she said. “A big goal for me is education and making sure the students in the TTSD community feel heard and feel welcome to bring their opinions to the city council.”
Vogel is balancing her new duties with an already packed schedule. In addition to classes and council, she’s currently working part-time, helping plan homecoming festivities as the chair of the activities committee, and is active in the National Honor Society, Key Club, and an officer for Sparrow Club, which sponsors a local child facing illness and economic hardship.
But busy is how she likes it.
“I’m learning to manage it all, and I’m thankful that, for now, it feels very manageable,” she said.
She got a window into her new position while working with her predecessor, youth councilor Aishiki Nag, on the Tigard Youth Advisory Council, and the more she researched, the more she found herself in step with some of the city’s guiding goals.
“I love the goal of walkability as a city and making our city more friendly to pedestrians and alternative modes of transportation,” she said. “As somebody who loves to ride her bike and walk her dog, that really spoke to me.”
The lifelong Tigard resident has grown up steps away from Cook Park but says she realizes not everyone is fortunate enough to share that reality. Her vision is a community where more people have the same kind of access to easily walkable community assets.
“It’s always been my favorite part of living in Tigard, being so close to such a great community area,” she said.
Vogel, the youngest of three kids, started following politics during the 2020 Presidential election cycle.
“At that point, I was pretty young,” she said. “I didn’t quite know about politics or local politics at all. I was learning from my parents and finding it was something I was passionate about.”
Her one-year term began in early July and runs through the end of next June, but she sees it as the start of a lifelong path.
“Whatever I choose to study, this will be a part of what I’ve learned and what I want to continue advocating for,” she said. “I definitely see a career for myself somewhere in politics, whether that’s local or national.”
For other teens who are intimidated by the thought of getting involved or who think there’s no place for their opinions, she has this advice: “Get involved any way you can. It doesn’t need to be as big as city council; it can be as small as something in your neighborhood. Sometimes it can feel unapproachable being someone younger trying to get your voice out there, but it’s wanted, and it’s heard, especially living in the city of Tigard.”