It will be a few years, but remember this name—you’re going to want to vote for him: Monte Scott.
After he graduates from college, Monte, a 12-year-old from Muskegon Heights who attends Oakview Elementary School, hopes to run for mayor—and it’s not a stretch to think of the ballots that would come pouring in for him. After all, he’s already got quite a few fans—and that group is growing even larger after this week.
Monte had a half-day of school on Wednesday, and it was then that the student decided he was going to fill the potholes that have long plagued his neighborhood.
“I was thinking about doing it for months,” Monte said. “It was a perfect day. I got up, put on some shoes, filled up a garbage can with dirt, and put the dirt in the potholes.”
Many of the potholes Monte filled on Maffett Street in Muskegon Heights were “too deep, almost to my ankles,” he explained.
“People complain and complain, and the city never fills them up,” Monte said. “And I feel horrible because they never do it. They should fix the streets.”
To say that people were grateful for his efforts would be an understatement: as Monte worked, people were “running past me, saying, ‘thank you; I appreciate you,’” he said. “The city bus man stopped me, took a photo with me and said, ‘Send the bill to the city.’ Another woman bought me a whole bunch of chips and candy to say thank you.”
A Facebook video of Monte working on the potholes too has landed the student in the spotlight—it’s been shared nearly 1,000 times and has garnered comment after comment of people both praising the 12-year-old for his hard work and initiative and criticizing the city for the potholes that leave drivers to dart around the damage-inducing holes. Monte’s mother, Trinell Scott, recently had to get her car repaired because of damage caused by potholes.
“What are they doing with the money people are paying with taxes?” Monte asked. “You could lose control of your car if you hit a pothole and then you could hit a pole.”
Monte’s grandmother, Patsy Payne, who has lived on Maffett Street for 21 years, said that while potholes have long been an issue throughout the area, they’ve gotten increasingly worse on Maffett over the past two and a half years.
“He saw a need, and he wanted to help,” his mother said. “It wasn’t shocking to me that Monte did something like that; that’s just what he does. He has a heart of gold. He’ll pick garbage up off the street. At the senior citizen complex nearby, he’ll help the seniors take their groceries in. They all know and love him.”
It’s this genuine desire to help—which Monte explained he does to “see the smiles on people’s faces”—that too inspires him to want to pursue a career in public service. He’s hoping to to play football or baseball professionally, but he also has his sights set on a life in politics.
“I want to go to college to be a mayor,” Monte said “If I were mayor here, I would go to the homeless shelter and help people. I’d get them clothes and shoes and all the stuff they need to help them back on their feet. I’d fix the roads. And help out around the community. I would have a big gathering for the community, where people could eat, play basketball and get together.”
With his track record—which also includes volunteering to shovel people’s sidewalks and driveways and mow yards up and down his street—Monte seems to have one of the best head starts to a campaign. Everyone already knows, and loves, him.
“Ever since he’s been able to walk and move around, he’s helped,” Trinell Scott said. “If you talk to any of his teachers, they’ll tell you he’s a helper. They often say they wish they could clone him.”
As time goes on, Monte hopes to see more people jumping to help, whether that’s bringing in someone’s groceries or tackling larger-scale societal issues.
“I want people to help us stop people from killing each other; all of us should come together instead of slowly breaking apart,” he said.