By AUSTIN POLLACK Staff Writer
Longo is no stranger to government. He has a resume that includes a variety of political jobs.
When he was only a teenager, he was working nearly 120 hours a week for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign.
"I've shaken Barack Obama's hand before in Bangor and I shook President Obama's hand once when he came to Portland," said Longo, 22.
"He thanked me for helping his campaign. It was really cool and it was a tremendous honor."
When asked if he had envisioned himself being a city councilor at 22, he said no.
"I imagined myself being out of college with a pretty nice job, making some money, saving up for a house," he said. "It really kicked off with the Obama campaign."
Longo began volunteering for the Obama campaign in 2008 but was asked to play a bigger role and offered a job.
"They moved me out to Washington County and I was almost the only organizer there," he said. "Going from teenager to adult I was in Washington County. I really think I grew up there.
"I realized I could set my mind to anything, except for calculus," he said with a chuckle.
Longo's political experience began early. He went to high school at Lee Academy, about 60 miles north of Bangor. There, he served on the student council and was president of his freshmen class. He was also a member of the National Honor Society.
Longo entered Husson University as a political science major. He was also president of college Democrats, but he says the party had little influence at the school.
When a seat opened on the Bangor City Council, he left Husson to make a run for office.
"I saw that there was an open seat and that was the best chance to make an impact," he said.
"Politicians are not perfect and I realized that," Longo said. "They don't have to be superman but you need to be willing to contribute and it worked fairly well. New people bring new ideas and the people agreed with what I had to say."
Longo was elected with nearly 5,000 votes, and almost immediately had big issues to contend with.
When Longo took his council seat, the city was grappling with a controversial, $65-million plan to build a new arena and civic center to replace the city's aging auditorium. He says he got a lot of input from constituents.
"You get to meet new people and get to go to great events," he said. "It's a tremendous honor to be on the council and to have the trust bestowed on you."
One person Longo made an impression on was Richard Shaw, a Bangor historian. Shaw had nothing but positive things to say about Longo.
"He's a great communicator and he is a great councilor because he always argues his point without being strident about it," said Shaw. "I've seen him work well with other councilors. He has great pride in his city."
Longo also worked with former House Speaker John Richardson.
"He's wiser beyond his years in how he sees the world," Richardson said. "I saw a young man coming from a northern Penobscot town and coming to a big city town like Bangor.
"I encouraged him to look at running for Bangor City Council."
Richardson said Longo encouraged Richardson's son to run for president of student government at George Washington University. He won as a sophomore.
Longo says being elected to the Bangor City Council has been his greatest accomplishment to date.
"Just getting elected was great," he said. "I need to make sure I uphold the pact I have with the people. My goal is to make Bangor as transparent as it can."
At 22, Longo is studying marketing at Husson University and is a customer service provider at Christmas Tree Shops.
Forty Under 40 honored
By Dennis Hoey on July 15th, 2011
those honored was Charlie Longo, a Bangor city councilor, who was elected in
November at the age of
"I ran because new people bring new ideas. I believe things need to change every once in a while," said Longo, who lives in Bangor. He praised MaineToday Media for making the effort to reach out and find young leaders.
"There are plenty of young people out there doing really good things. But, as a group I believe they are not getting credit for what they do," he said.
July 14, 2011
Elected to the Bangor City Council at age 21, Charlie Longo became the youngest city councilor in the city's history (former Gov. John Baldacci previously held the record, at age 23). A key supporter of construction of a new Bangor Arena, Longo, 22, has been called “the embodiment of what it means to be a public servant,” whether he’s accompanying police officers on their rounds or volunteering at a food cupboard at Thanksgiving. Readily available to constituents, an attendee at countless local events, Longo serves on the Government Operations, Business & Economic Development, and Infrastructure committees. A dean’s list student at Husson University, he is pursuing a degree in marketing...Open publication
Forty under 40: Maine leaders to be honored
By Colleen Stewart on July 3rd, 2011
Forty of Maine's emerging leaders will be honored in MaineToday Media's first annual Forty under 40 event.
The July 14 event will acknowledge the rising stars, creative problem solvers and emerging experts who are revered by their peers, friends and managers alike.
Recipients were nominated for their commitment to leadership, professional excellence and their communities.