He may never have voted before in his life, but the new 17-year-old president of the Brant NDP riding association in Brantford, Ont., says he has a wealth of experience required for the job.

High school student Ryan Jamula remembers when he first became involved in politics.

“I did some research on the political parties and I decided I really liked what the NDP stood for,” said Jamula. “So I went to a candidate open house and met the candidate and started volunteering on the campaign.”

He was 10-years-old at the time.

Fast forward seven years to Sunday, when the grade 12 student was elected president of the provincial riding association during its annual meeting.

He now leads an association that has several younger members. Of the association’s 10 members, seven were born after 1980 and three are teenagers.

Jamula told CTV Kitchener that this is a sign that young people are engaged.

“I really think it speaks to a change that young people can lead in communities,” he said.

Among his first tasks as association president is to figure out who will represent the NDP in Brant. Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath has already made three campaign stops in the long-time Liberal riding, and Jamula believes there is an appetite for change in the region.

“People are really looking to the NDP in Brant and in this region. We saw this in the last byelection in Kitchener-Waterloo,” he said referring to NDP MPP Catherine Fife’s recent win in a September byelection. Jamula volunteered on her campaign.

He’s also keeping his fingers crossed that the next provincial election will be held after May 13, 2013. That’s his birthday and the earliest day he could possibly vote.

Jamula said after high school, he wants to study political science in university and eventually plans to continue his career in politics.

With a report by CTV Kitchener’s Abigail Bimman