Among the seven people who have already pulled petitions to run for Farmington Hills city council this fall, Samantha Steckloff may well be one of the youngest candidates.
Raised and now living in Farmington Hills, she turns 29 in March and has begun the process of buying a home in the community.
"I had such an amazing childhood here," said Steckloff, who is the daughter of labor attorney Mark Steckloff and State Rep. Vicki Barnett. "The programs and education are top-notch, and that's what I'm looking for when I raise my children."
Her decision also comes at a time when long-time council member Nancy Bates, who Steckloff refers to as one of her greatest mentors, is stepping down, leaving at least one open seat. (Bates confirmed Wednesday that she will not run for re-election.)
Steckloff was one of the founding members of the Mayors Youth Council, which she said is one of Bates' greatest legacies. The group includes students from Farmington Hills and Farmington who take on civic projects and learn about local government.
"She always said the children of today will be the leaders of tomorrow, and we need to train them," Steckloff noted. "That's exactly what the Mayors Youth Council did." Steckloff credits the group with teaching her how to become an effective leader and to understand the political process.
Steckloff looks to the Grand River Corridor Improvement Authority as key to one of the community's biggest challenges: Keeping young adults and young families from moving to cities like Royal Oak and Birmingham.
"We have to attract those families to Farmington Hills, and this Grand River Corridor project may be one of those big answers," she said, adding the need for public transportation and a walkable community is also important for all generations. "This will be the council working on that."
A graduate of Harrison High and Purdue University, Steckloff is employed at Wayne State University, in enrollment services.
Anyone interested in running for city council or mayor in Farmington Hills can pick up nominating petitions at the Clerk’s office, Farmington Hills City Hall, 31555 W. 11 Mile Road, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Three 4-year council seats and the 2-year mayor's seat are up for grabs on Nov. 5, 2013.