Catholic University Freshman Diego Rojas has dipped his feet into college life and local politics in the nation's capital. At 18 years old, he is believed to be the youngest elected official in Washington, D.C.
Rojas was recently sworn in as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for District 5A-4, an area that encompasses Catholic University, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and Capuchin College.
"Being a commissioner is just another way that I can try to continue giving back to the community and try to live what I feel called to do, which is to make America a better place"
“It was great to see it all come into fruition. It was a great day, and that day made me thankful for the opportunity I was given,” said Rojas, recalling his swearing-in on Dec. 9, 2021.
A native of the Washington, DC, area, he grew up in South Florida and is majoring in business management and finance. He chose Catholic University for his undergraduate studies because it offered him numerous opportunities, from participating on the golf team to receiving a world-class education experience in and out of the classroom.
“What set apart Catholic for me was number one, the location, being in D.C. And I always wanted to go to a religious school, too,” Rojas said. “I also love the business school at Catholic because they teach business in a Catholic way and a Christ-like way. ‘Become a Force for Good’ is one of the mottos of the Busch School.”
ANC Commissioners are elected community representatives in the District of Columbia. The city’s 40 ANCs provide local residents a greater voice in issues affecting their neighborhoods.
As a commissioner, Rojas serves as the neighborhood’s official voice in advising the local government and federal agencies on issues affecting his district, including zoning, streets, recreation, social services, education, planning, budget, and health services. Commissioners serve two-year terms without pay.
Since Rojas filled a vacant seat, his term will last one year, and he plans to run again in 2022 for the post. One of his priorities is to support local businesses.
“Being a commissioner is just another way that I can try to continue giving back to the community and try to live what I feel called to do, which is to make America a better place,” he added.
Besides politics and academics, Rojas has independently published two books and is passionate about golf.
He believes anyone can reach their goals and dreams and can contribute to making their communities a better place.
“Our lives here are temporary, but the work that we do, that is what lives on forever. Anybody can go out and do anything, and that is what I try to do every day,” Rojas said.