Amarillo has a new city council candidate and his name is Hayden Pedigo.
Earlier this month, a video began appearing on social media, announcing the city council campaign of Hayden Pedigo. Pedigo, a 24-year-old credit union employee and guitarist behind the Greetings from Amarillo album, announced that he would be running for Amarillo City Council Place 2, saying that he is displeased with the way small business owners have been treated in Amarillo.
"I believe that a lot of local business owners out here are straight up getting bonked," Pedigo says in the video.
The first video featured Pedigo throwing folding chairs and measuring sidewalks and gutters with a tape measure. As of this week, that video had gone viral and received over 64,000 views on Facebook alone.
A second video also appeared on social media this week, showing Pedigo waving at passing cars in front of City Hall, mowing a lawn and weighing fruit at Amarillo's Fiesta Foods. That video, after about two days online, has received over 20,000 views.
While many elements of the videos are comedic in nature, the overnight sensation says that his campaign is very real.
"At the moment, the plan is yes," Pedigo said when asked whether he truly plans to run for office in Amarillo.
The 24-year-old said that he was inspired to make the videos and consider running after purchasing his own house and personally witnessing tax rates skyrocket in Amarillo. However, Pedigo said he also was excited to see how the message of the videos resonated with those of varying political backgrounds.
"A big thing that's behind this for me is I am very passionate about Amarillo," Pedigo said. "Many people haven't been paying attention to local issues and these videos seemed to have sparked interest with people of different backgrounds."
Weighing in on hot topics in Amarillo, Pedigo says that he opposed metered parking in Amarillo, saying that it is a sign of "jumping the gun," before downtown revitalization can fully materialize. Pedigo also expressed his disapproval with Mayor Ginger Nelson's proposal to move City Council meetings to 7am, calling the proposal a "weird form of censorship."
The seat which Pedigo has expressed his intention to seek is currently held by Councilmember Freda Powell. However, Pedigo has said that he is not fully committed to running for that particular seat and may consider running for other positions on the City Council.
Powell was elected in 2017 with 76 percent of the vote, defeating insurance broker and Donald Trump advocate James Schenck.
The next Amarillo City Council election will be held in May of 2019. Candidates interested in running can begin filing in January.