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West St. Paul has added a junior City Council member in an effort to better consider youth voices when making decisions that affect the city.

The council swore in McKinley Cherrier, a junior at Two Rivers High School, at its first meeting in 2024. The high school's speech and debate coach recommended Cherrier for the role.

The youth council member can participate in council discussions and events but cannot vote.

Council Member Wendy Berry, who first proposed having a young person as a council member, said she heard about the success the Centerville City Council has had with its youth member and wanted to bring that to West St. Paul.

"As we continue planning for the future, it's good to have that perspective," Berry said, adding that Cherrier recently jumped in and made a helpful comment after a city resident spoke at a meeting.

Berry said she hopes the initiative will foster young people's interest in city government.

In 2023, Centerville received the League of Minnesota Cities' "City of Excellence" award for cities with populations under 5,000 for its junior council member program.