Who is the Heck is Mason Gates?

Photo Credit: votegates.com

Scottsdalians who use social media have almost certainly been confronted with Mason Gates; he is a Scottsdale city council candidate who has seemingly come out of nowhere, spraying digital ads throughout the city, highlighting videos of him speaking and what he touts as an army of kids willing to do his bidding.

While digital political ads are nothing new, his approach has raised a few eyebrows and prompted us to look a little further. So who is Mason Gates?

Well, for starters, Gates is a mere 20 years old. Yes, you read that right…20 years old.  He touts volunteering in politics in sixth grade as his first entry in the field and where he developed his passion. He grew up in Missouri, and apparently came to Tempe to study finance at Arizona State for two years; that said, two years generally isn’t enough to get a degree, and he claims to be working with a real estate brokerage now, so why he apparently didn’t complete a degree is a question mark.

He apparently moved to Scottsdale less than two years ago and apparently set his sights on the city council nearly immediately. His videos are likely engaging from a Gen Zer’s perspective, fairly well produced from a low-budget perspective and made for social media. However, what’s noticeable is that he doesn’t really say anything.

In them are full of general political platitudes about politicians not being listened to, the sort of generalized preying on an overall dissatisfaction with politicians which is relatively cagey but lacking in merit. He is clearly an intelligent young man with potential promise and unbounding ambition but no one to mentor him and show him the ropes of the community. His list of endorsements from his website are all low-level politicos in different states; the makings of someone who clearly desperately wants to rise through the ranks of politics by short-cutting instead of putting the time in.

While he has reasonably good marketing chops for a kid, it’s absurd to believe that a 20 year old that has been in the city for less than two years can reasonably reflect the needs and wants of a city like Scottsdale in any way, let alone show leadership past what one could mimic by watching House of Cards or The West Wing. Gates would have been well served to wait 20 more years, build a career, make local connections and grow up as an adult before making this run.