Colusa’s newest city councilman knows he has a lot of catching up to do, and not a lot of time to do it.
Josh Hill is a busy man – he’s working full-time for his father’s business while finishing up his college education –but Hill, 25, said he’ll get caught up quickly, one way or another.
“No, I don’t need sleep,” Hill said, laughing. “I find time, you know… I’m pretty involved with it anyway, so it’s not hard for me. I’d read this stuff anyways if I wasn’t in the council. So, it’s kind of adding to it, now that I get a vote.”
Hill says that he’s been preparing to step into a role on the city council for some time – mentored by the late Kirk Kelleher, whose seat he was appointed to fill at last week’s city council meeting.
“Before that happened with Kirk, I was actually… He was kind of mentoring me into the whole situation,” Hill said. “I came to him one day and said, ‘Now that I’ve moved back, I’d really like to get involved in some of this stuff that – it makes a big difference in our community.’ He goes, ‘Oh, that’s a great idea – we need someone young, kind of like you. You bring a lot, you’ve got a lot going, so, that’s where it was. I’ve just been interested in politics, and I said, ‘Hey, this was a good way to figure this out..’ (The kind of mentorship Kelleher provided) is hard to describe. He was such a teacher – he’d just teach you about anything, really.”
Hill said his intention was to run for one of two seats coming up for election in November, but when Kelleher died unexpectedly in January, plans changed. And when they did, Hill did exactly what he felt his political mentor would have encouraged him to do.
“Any questions I had, he was always there saying, ‘Hey this is intimidating, don’t be scared – everything is going to be OK… Kirk kind of took me under the wing and mentored me, and his unfortunate passing happened, and I said, ‘Well, I’m not going to change that just because my mentor passed. I just kept on going after it,” said Hill.
It paid off: After his appointment was approved by the council on March 6, Hill became the youngest Colusa City Councilman in recent memory – and possibly in the entire 150-year history of the city, his father, Craig Hill, suggested in the hallway outside the council chambers after last Tuesday’s meeting.
While he might be young, he said he isn’t nervous about his new role on the council – he simply plans to do his best and “do his homework” before making big decisions on city issues. One of his first actions as a city councilman was to abstain from a vote on regarding the approval of a Cannabis Manufacturing Special Use Permit and a Regulatory Permit for Golden Roots Nursery – one of seven commercial cannabis projects in the works in Colusa – due to a lack of information.
“That’s why I abstained from vote the first night – I just had a lack of information. How can I vote on something like that?” Hill said. “I’m very aware of the situation that we’re representing the people, the citizens of Colusa.”
In the days after the meeting, he still didn’t feel comfortable taking a position on the subject of commercial cannabis in the city of Colusa.
“I’m just trying to keep an open mind with it, and see what’s best for the community,” Hill said. “That’s what I’m going to say about that… I need to catch up on a lot of information, in order to be informed to make proper decisions.”
Hill said some of his “homework” has included soliciting the opinions of a wide variety of Colusa residents on issues such as commercial cannabis – which he admitted was among the most pressing the city is currently facing.
Hill hopes to bring the city council “some fresh eyes and a younger person’s perspective.” Among his top priorities is figuring out the best way to bring more revenue to the city, “in a way that will make sure everybody is happy with what’s going on.”
“I just want see Colusa be successful,” Hill said. “I want to see us keep going down a path of success, and I want to help make this the best place for people to live. I want people to come and love Colusa the way I love Colusa.”■