There are many words a person can use to describe themselves. Josh Maxwell uses the word “genuine.” From the outside, Josh Maxwell may look like an ordinary young man. However, at the age of 26, Maxwell has an extraordinary title to his name. He is the youngest mayor that Downingtown, Pa. has ever had.
So why does that matter? Like any current reader of The Quad, Maxwell once sat in the same classrooms, ate in the same cafeteria, and walked through the same Quad as readers do now.
An alumnus of West Chester University, Maxwell graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He was actively involved in the Russian Club and was a brother of the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity.
All of this aside, Maxwell has one huge qualification that helped him win Tuesday’s elections; he grew up in Downingtown.
Maxwell was heavily involved with the Planning Commission of Downingtown, which helped him grow in confidence to run for mayor of the town.
“I enjoyed being active in the town especially with what we were able to achieve in the planning commission,” Maxwell said, noting he is eager to get more things accomplished as mayor.
So what changes does Maxwell hope to bring to Downingtown? He has plans to bring more commercial and restaurant development as well as finding businesses for a lot of the closed plants.
“I definitely want to get the youth involved in the community as well,” he said.
With Maxwell’s Youthfulness and experience, there is no doubt that he will be able to accomplish that. At the age of 26, one wonders how it feels to be a young mayor in a town where all the odds were placed against him.
“It feels great!” Maxwell said, “it feels great that so many people had faith in me to do a good job regardless of my age.”
With all of the goals Maxwell has accomplished for himself, it would be foolish to think he did it without any help or influence.
During his years at WCU, he helped fundraise for the Russian Children’s Welfare Society.
“He had the brilliant idea to organize a skate party, with a band playing live music right on the ice, while everyone skated around them,” said Dr. Alice Speh, associate professor of Russian and Spanish studies. “Thanks to Josh’s energy, we did it two years in a row, raising about $1,000 each time.”
Dr. Speh was Maxwell’s advisor as well as his professor for his Intensive Russian studies class.
“He was an enthusiastic learner,” Dr. Speh said.
Maxwell also participated and was heavily involved in raising money for his fraternity’s philanthropy.
He said his fraternity’s influence in helping the community really helped him focus on community service. Maxwell couldn’t have accomplished his dream without the influence and help from different people in his life.
“Professor Speh had the biggest influence on me at West Chester. She helped me realize and accomplish my goals in a huge way,” Maxwell said. “I also look up to those who overcome diversity, people who give so much to the world without getting anything in return.”
Currently, Maxwell is pursuing a degree in Law at Widener University. He strongly encourages young, hopeful politicians to “show a dedication to your community.
Make sure you create a positive image and experience for the people you represent.”
Angela Thomas is a third-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at AT683005@wcupa.edu