Anyone who calls millennials lazy hasn’t met Thomas Sierzycki.
The CBC Future 40 winner was elected to council in his hometown of La Ronge, Sask. at 18 years old. Three years later, at 21, he became Canada’s youngest mayor.
“I really had to strive to make sure I was professional,” Sierzycki told Metro. “You can be young as long as you’re ambitious.”
Now 25, he has already demonstrated commitment to his northern community.
On council, Sierzycki said he represented local youth and pushed for the construction of a skate park. His top priority as mayor remains making La Ronge attractive for residents, visitors and investors.
“There are a lot of good things happening in La Ronge,” said Sierzycki. “If we can promote (those) things… then we can capitalize on business opportunities.”
Being featured in Future 40, he added, was a chance to “give La Ronge and the north more positive exposure.”
However, Sierzycki is realistic about the challenges people in remote areas face. La Ronge has a fluctuating population of more than 3,000, he said, and is located about 250 kilometres north of Prince Albert.
“Addictions and youth suicide are trends in the north,” he said.
Sierzycki has also overcome immense personal adversity. His father and mother, who emigrated from Poland, both have suffered from cancer. In 2009, his mother lost her struggle.
“I wanted to dedicate myself to La Ronge because it had supported me through some very tough times,” he said.
Moving forward, Sierzycki plans on finishing his Master’s and starting a family. Eventually, provincial or federal office is a possibility.
“Once you get politics into your blood, it’s hard to get out,” he said.
Metro and CBC will announce the winners of the 2014 competition between March 17 and 20, during which time the public will also have the opportunity to vote for the People’s Choice award recipient.