Mercyhurst freshman Gavin Griffin running for Titusville City Council

gavin griffin Gavin Griffin has no plans to wait around for his inheritance. He’s going after it now.

The 18-year-old freshman at Mercyhurst University is running for a seat on Titusville City Council with hopes of being the youngest council officer in the history of his native Crawford County community.

“I’m part of the generation that will be inheriting the leadership of this country one day,” Griffin said. “I feel it’s incumbent upon me to help make it a better place now.”

On March 7, the Political Science major officially declared his candidacy for one of four open seats on the five-person council. As of April 4, the Titusville City Manager’s office reported that Griffin was the only new candidate vying for office in the upcoming May 16 primary.

So, at an age when most college freshmen have their minds on anything but politics, Griffin is walking the ward and knocking on doors. Not only is he touting his platform but his experience. Yes, experience.

When the council decided in 2022 to introduce a Junior Councilman Program to encourage young people’s involvement and perspective in government issues, Griffin was the first to join. Although he was not paid and did not have a vote, he attended all the meetings and took part in the research and decision-making process.

During the six months of his tenure, which ended just before he left for his first year at Mercyhurst, Griffin worked on downtown revitalization issues, like sidewalk improvements; enhanced council’s social media presence, including the addition of Instagram; and, as a dog lover with four of his own, helped change the ordinance that prevented dogs from being allowed in city parks. He also acquired a private donation from a local businessman to pay for dog waste stations at the parks.

Experiencing the inner workings of local government, Griffin valued the opportunity to promote change at the local level and decided to run for office.

He spent much of the winter traveling back and forth between Mercyhurst and his Titusville home, where he went door to door collecting the 100 signatures needed to put his name on the ballot. He stopped after reaching 150 and is now spending his time getting to know his potential constituents and sharing his ideas with them.

Among those ideas are:

  • With a poverty rate of 24 percent in a city of 5,200 people, he seeks a more collaborative approach among local social services community whose goal is to help the poor.
  • Build an awareness and increase the availability of Narcan to save lives from drug overdoses. 
  • Ensure first responders have adequate staffing and equipment.
  • Advocate for more training in CPR and installation of automated external defibrillators in the community.

To learn more about his platform, visit the Griffin for Titusville website.

A Democrat, Griffin also interns for Sen. Bob Casey, which provides him a sense of government at the federal level. His internship concludes at the end of spring semester.

Asked who inspires him, he said, Robert Kennedy, and shared a favorite quote of his:

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

In what little spare time he has, Griffin likes to spend it with his family and girlfriend, sail, and listen to his favorite band, the Dropkick Murphys.