HAYDEN: My name is Hayden Pedigo.
I am running for city council place one.
NATASHA DEL TORO: An unlikely candidate seeks political office.
HAYDEN: We're going to break the glass ceiling.
DEL TORO: Does Hayden have what it takes to unseat the incumbent?
JEFF BLACKBURN: Hayden, who has no business, none, thinking he can do anything.
If you don't vote for me, vote for him.
DEL TORO: "Kid Candidate" on America ReFramed.
♪ ♪ CROWD: Four, three, two, one!
HAYDEN: My name is Hayden Pedigo, and I'm running for... (echoing): ...city council.
("Die Like a Rockstar" by Danny Brown playing) ♪ ♪ (music stops) My name is Hayden Pedigo.
I'm running for city council place two in Amarillo, Texas.
I believe that a lot of local small business owners out here are straight up getting bonked.
("Lost the Plot" by Terry Wrist playing) ♪ You don't know what day it is ♪ ♪ The one that you've been born ♪ ♪ You don't know what day it is ♪ ♪ No, don't show where I go ♪ ♪ You, you, you, you, you, you, you, you ♪ ♪ Lost the plot, lost the plot ♪ ♪ You, you, you, you, you, you, you, you ♪ ♪ Lost the plot, lost the plot ♪ ♪ You, you, you, you, you, you, you, you ♪ ♪ Lost the plot, lost the plot ♪ ♪ You, you, you, you, you, you, you, you ♪ ♪ Lost it all ♪ (music stops) HAYDEN: Hey, Hannah?
L'HANNAH: Yeah, baby?
HAYDEN: Can you get up a velvet jacket and lint roll it off?
I may wear that.
(hair dryer buzzing) HAYDEN: The reason why I'm running for city council here in Amarillo is, I felt like there was a lack of representation, especially amongst my age group.
- Baby, don't be nervous.
L'HANNAH: Hayden asked me, he said, "Should I run for city council?
Would I look stupid doing it?"
And I told him, I said, "Well, Hayden," I said, "You do truly care about the city."
And I'm, like, "You're constantly talking about Amarillo."
To me, that's the only qualification, is that you're genuine and you care about the city, and you care about the people.
Just don't be an asshole.
(laughs): So that's kind of what I tell him.
♪ ♪ WOMAN: Hi.
HAYDEN: Hi, where do I file to be on the ballot?
That's in here?
Um, I came to file to be on the ballot-- I do it here?
- Yes, sir-- did you fill out your application yet?
- No, I, they said, um... Can you print it off for me?
- And I can just fill it out here?
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
Thank y'all so much, and I'm all good to go?
- Yes, sir.
- Awesome, well, thank y'all so much.
BLACKBURN: Hayden, he's a well-meaning, unwitting dupe.
Who has no business-- none-- thinking he can do anything.
JASMINE STODEL: He's younger.
- Well, you know, fine, if that's the rule, that if he's younger and that makes him better, let's run a baby.
STODEL: No, that's not what I mean.
♪ Baby, it's a rollercoaster, don't stop ♪ ♪ Better take a hold, spin it like a top ♪ ♪ Well, that's right ♪ ♪ That's right ♪ ♪ People all around, things are gonna change ♪ ♪ Everybody knows they're gonna stay the same, though ♪ ♪ That's right, that's right ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ That's right, that's right ♪ (digital slate beeping) (slate clacks) FAIRBANKS: Early on, we would just... On a spur, we'd go shoot a bunch of stuff downtown and then I'd go home and make some vaguely cohesive edit out of it that looked cool.
♪ ♪ (groaning): Why?
Here, use this!
- Are you insane?
(groans) (whimpering loudly) (stops whimpering) Wow.
Pretty impressive, actually.
- Hey, look a blind person!
- I can't see him.
♪ ♪ I can see!
(all cheer) (men singing in Spanish) The reason the videos initially started was, I always admit, admit by accident, in a sense, because me and Alex talked one evening and I told him I wanted to make a weird video, I want to make something like Harmony Korine used to make back in the '90s.
FAIRBANKS: So we went to Medi Park with the chair, and he was digging around in the back of my car.
I was, like, "Hey, maybe you could be, "like, a city councilman or a guy running for mayor.
"And you're just, like, this is your trope, "you're seeing how the city measures up to stuff.
"And you're showing people how you're gonna fix the city," kind of thing.
I helped him pick out, at Goodwill, the jacket and the tie.
And I said, "Well, have fun," 'cause I had to go to work.
And then I came home and he was, like, "This is good."
A couple days later, he posted on Facebook and it just blew up.
At that end of the day, I think 70,000 views in that day.
I would get different responses from people.
It'd be, "You're the guy running for city council."
"Oh, you're the guy from Adult Swim."
One of my really good friends messaged me and was, like, "It's on the front page of Reddit!"
FAIRBANKS: And I was, like, "Dude, "maybe you should go for city council.
"Like, people are really liking this.
You could probably follow through and win."
ANCHOR 1: We're taking a closer look at the candidates who are running for Amarillo City Council ahead of Election Day on Saturday.
Four people are on the ballot for Amarillo City Council place one.
ANCHOR 2: Elaine Hays, Richard Herman.
ANCHOR 1: Jay Kirkman and Hayden Pedigo running for city council place one.
People have until next Friday to file.
♪ ♪ HAYDEN: What I'm doing currently isn't from the same perspective of how I started it, from accidental and a joke.
I found more of a reason to continue.
This thing that was absurd started growing into something that can legitimately affect life.
Creative people, talented people end up leaving Amarillo.
They go to bigger cities, they go to places where they think there's more opportunities, and they don't view Amarillo as a place that they can excel at anything.
I say, "Why not stay in Amarillo and be able to do what you want to do?"
Even if I don't get elected, I want this to at least inspire somebody, you know?
Just to get them to vote would be a major step.
♪ ♪ (howls) BLACKBURN: Amarillo is not just unique and not just different.
It is really very beautiful.
It's one of the most beautiful places in the United States, physically, with some of the ugliest people who happen to be in it.
Amarillo very recently figured out, "Wait a minute, "we can swindle taxpayers and never get caught.
All we have to do is own the government."
CLAUDIA STRAVATO: A group was formed called Amarillo Matters, where the elites formed an organization, pooled their money, and made sure that their elitist friends got elected.
HAYDEN: Each individual council member and mayor are all wealthy lawyers, accountants, business owners.
I do think money is the main decider in politics.
And sadly, why are six-figure amounts being spent on Amarillo elections?
We're not Dallas, we're not Houston, we're Amarillo, and we have campaigns that are in the six figures.
Three of the biggest large contributions that took place in the last reporting period are the Wares, the people who own the largest privately held bank in America.
Not in Amarillo, in America.
They've run Amarillo for the longest time, and they still do.
Amarillo Matters is designed to facilitate that by ensuring that they have safe people in office that will never ask any questions.
Now, what the people here are going to find out is, all of our money has been blown on making a handful of people rich and we're not going to have the resources to deal with the crises that are ahead.
That's my real fear for this place.
(church congregation singing, organ playing) DAVID LOVEJOY: The people who have the least shouldn't have to go through the most to survive.
We're so excited to build a new strip mall on the south side of town with two tenants that probably won't be there in three years, but you have a food desert here in the north side community.
People can't go and get a piece of fruit on Hughes Street, which is the main African American road that goes through the center of, of their community.
You can't buy a piece of fruit there.
You have plenty of places to buy blunt skins and 40 ounces, but no place to buy a banana.
If you got dying parts of your community, it's going to spread, it's going to fester.
♪ ♪ AGOL ALOAK: To me, it feels like our votes don't matter.
They just want us to feel like we matter.
But really, they're in control, and they pick and choose.
You don't know my struggles.
You don't want to help me, you just want to, me to be on your side so you can be, like, "Oh, look, I'm down."
When you're really not down, 'cause you really don't understand.
I love Amarillo, I love the Panhandle.
I don't want to leave this place, but I do want to see change.
I find there's just more that could be done.
If you really cared for the people, then you, you would do more.
Being the mayor in Amarillo is a wonderful thing.
I ran because I felt like God was asking me to step into an arena of influence, to love people.
And to do that in my city through serving in government.
It's funny to me that people say that we're from old Amarillo money.
Neither is my husband.
And both of us lived in very normal, middle-class homes.
Our parents still live in those homes.
We had student debt, we brought our student debt and our two used cars and moved to Amarillo, and frankly have been so blessed to have the American dream come true for us.
Another phrase that comes to mind that we've really lived out over the last two years is that God allows you to be baptized with criticism so that you'll be inoculated against praise, because no good leader is doing it for the praise.
BLACKBURN: If I was Ginger Nelson, I would say I'm running a faith-based government instead of a greed-based government, which is what she's doing.
(laughs) Because that probably sells better.
The only solution to that level of corruption, says the courts, is political.
When you got would-be leaders like Hayden Pedigo, that's a pretty dim prospect.
(crickets chirping) WOMAN (whispering): Why am I here?
I can't even remember when this all started.
It's hard to sleep because it's never quiet.
HAYDEN: It's a little terrifying, you know.
Like, I don't want to be some, like, jackass doing this.
I know my parents are upset with what I'm doing.
It was, like, an embarrassment to the family.
Really, really bad, you know?
Essentially, I grew up with parents, a mom and a dad, that were, I think, maybe a little bit wild when they were younger, and went to religion and Christianity very hard in the opposite direction.
They home-schooled me and my sister, first grade through high school, the whole thing.
And my dad preached at a homeless shelter.
Then he preached at a truck stop.
My dad would tell me that I was like a caged animal, just, like, pacing to get out.
So it's, like, you felt like you didn't know anybody, and living out in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes it just felt like the same day over and over and over again.
Hayden was always physically taken care of, but mentally, his parents did a number on him.
He has such a massive fear of failing, just with his parents constantly demonizing him, um, and making him feel like a failure because he wasn't saying or doing everything that they, they saw fit.
HAYDEN: I spent a lot of my life beating myself up over mistakes I had made, and it's like this infinite cycle-- you, you do something wrong, you make a mistake, so it's, like, well, I'm kind of a piece of (bleep), so I'm going to keep doing it.
(voice trembling): Like, I remember Hayden and I got in a fight in our marriage, and he said, from...
He said, "I feel like I'm, "I'm Lenny from Of Mice and Men.
"And I, I just want to hold the puppies, but I keep killing them because I hold them too hard."
And he just, for the longest time, felt like everything he touched he'd just destroy, including me.
(sniffles) It's just so hard.
(guitar feedback buzzing) HAYDEN: My dad's biggest critique of me growing up was, he would say I was like an unplugged alarm clock.
Like, when it flashes 12:00.
Like, I had forgotten everything, and couldn't retain, and... Like, I'm about to be 25.
It's, like, I still think about that stupid stuff, you know?
And... (swallows) (voice trembling): Sorry, yeah.
(bird chirping) (bleep) I got your suit minus the tie.
I've got your underwear and socks, and then that's it, right?
HAYDEN: Yes-- I feel like I'm not helping, like, I feel I'm just pacing.
♪ ♪ You do all the time, you go, "Oh, that was the exit."
L'HANNAH (laughs): No, I don't-- no, I don't!
HAYDEN: During those years of my life where I was cut off from everything, music and things like that meant so much to me, because it represented everything I ever hoped and dreamed for.
It was an escape from all the things that hurt you, and, uh, it just was important.
I can't even just explain just how important that stuff was to me.
(playing slow tune) MICHAEL HALL: Hayden is very much a child of Amarillo and his parents.
Hayden is also, he's a conservative, Christian, bank-working kid, you know?
He is not some punk rock, you know, Samhain-tattoo-wearing, you know, street urchin.
I mean, Hayden could have gone anywhere and done anything.
Why isn't he in Austin, or New York, or Berlin, where the people who make this kind of music are welcomed?
He's in Amarillo, (bleep) Texas.
(rhythm picks up) KAREN GLAUBER: Politics are critical in music.
Whom else to respond to the conditions then somebody-- a troubadour?
It's a long-standing tradition.
Whether it was Marvin Gaye, whether it's Bob Dylan, whether it's Eddie Vedder-- whomever it is, we need people like that.
This, Hayden, the fact that he's willing to just go against everything that is the status quo.
Everyone's going to tell him that he's crazy, and that's terrific.
You know, "Let me prove you wrong."
(song continues) L'HANNAH: Hayden's upbringing definitely factors into him running for city council.
There's a part of him that, it's almost like a (bleep) you to them.
Like, "Oh, you think I'm an embarrassment "to the Pedigo name?
I'm just going to go further and embarrass you even more."
♪ ♪ HAYDEN: I feel like my life really began at 18, when I moved out of my parents' house.
Because you feel that strongly about, "I have to do it.
"I've wasted so much time, I've been held back for so long.
So why not do the biggest thing I possibly can?"
My name is Hayden Pedigo.
I am running for city council place one.
I'm 24 years old, making me the youngest candidate running for city council here.
I'm all for progress, I'm all for development, but I'm not for development that's indebting future generations of Amarillo.
We have a government system that is a small-town government.
We are no longer a small town.
200,000 people is not a small town.
And I want the younger generation to step up and say, "We want a better Amarillo for the future "that's not going to indebt us, "we want progress for all, and we want a government that fits our city."
And that's the reason why I'm running, thank y'all.
- If you don't vote for me, vote for him.
That's all I'm gonna say.
(all laugh) That was very impressive.
I may not know much... (stumbling) But I do know about Amarillo.
Amarillo, we're going to rebuild and we're using bricks this time.
We're going to break the glass ceiling.
(distorted): Shouldn't have used a mirror.
(echoing): This video was created with a budget of zero dollars.
I have accepted no donations for this campaign.
♪ ♪ (echoing stops): I think one of the reasons why I've been pretty set on running on no donations is, for one, the thing I said from the beginning with the videos, even though they're ridiculous, is, I think people, especially at my age, are burnt out on politics.
And off the bat, I wanted to do videos that didn't feel like politics we knew.
It wasn't bashing on anyone.
It wasn't saying how your life was going to get terrible.
And that's kind of where the no donation came in.
I kind of want to make a point by not accepting donations.
I don't want people's money.
You know, if I can get people talking about my message and what I'm doing, then I think that's worth more than a yard sign, if I can get people talking about it.
I don't need the money, I don't need the signs.
I don't need T-shirts.
I want to change the way it's done completely.
(lawnmower engine sputtering) GINGER NELSON: Well, I admire anybody that would put their name out in the arena.
That takes a lot of courage.
If I were the one that, I guess, stepped out and said, "I'm not going to raise any funds for this campaign," I put, I feel like it puts that leadership opportunity at risk.
It's like sitting down to play chess, but insisting that the rules be for checkers, you know?
"I would be the first one to set down the weapons."
Well, that person's probably going to get shot.
(gun fires) (slide rattles) (woman talking in background) RANDY BURKETT: In politics, you get beat up pretty good for telling the truth.
Sometimes I just wasn't the most popular guy in the room.
You know, when I was on council, there was lots of 3-2 votes, you know, 4-1 votes.
I mean, and that's what you want, is a good healthy debate, but there's none of that anymore.
And it appears that the city's running real smooth.
Well, it is running smooth, if that particular group is getting everything they want, you know?
And that's the way things have been going.
(gun firing) There are just a lot of things down at city hall that need to change, but it's not going to happen in my lifetime.
(laughs) (birds chirping) (talking in background) - How are you?
- I'm doing good.
- Nice to meet you, doing good.
How are you doing?
- (laughing) - Nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you.
- What's your name?
- Hayden, Hayden Pedigo.
Nice to meet you.
Yeah, thank you all for coming, glad y'all came.
Amarillo's population, nearly 40% is under the age of 30.
I didn't feel like Amarillo was utilizing its young population the way we should, because that's the future of the city.
You know, I love the neighborhood over by Amarillo College, those brick roads, those houses-- I love that area.
And I thought to myself, wow, I never thought I would see Amarillo like this.
This is incredible.
But I say, if you flip the script, you're 17, you're living in North Heights, you're about to get out of high school, you're not sure if you'll even make it into college, and you're not sure what career prospects you have, how is Amarillo looking for you?
♪ Road to riches, this a money train ♪ ♪ I came a long way from the hunger pains ♪ ♪ One deep, 'cause you (bleep) strange ♪ ♪ I heard they killed your partner like The Hunger Games ♪ ♪ Dissect a (bleep) like anatomy ♪ ♪ I know Mad Max proud of me ♪ ♪ I'm stepping on you rappers' necks ♪ ♪ 'Cause y'all the main people that was doubting me ♪ (recording playing): ♪ Shots fired so you (bleep) duck low ♪ ♪ Finna preach you a sermon like Creflo ♪ ♪ Cloud nine 'cause I'm blowing this church smoke ♪ ♪ (bleep) hype but I'm going to check, though ♪ ♪ Dragon Ball Z, call me Kakarot ♪ ♪ Good thing I'm from Houston, I rap a lot ♪ ♪ Keep Hannah Montana, you soft as a feather ♪ ♪ Mag 90 gon' clear the whole block a lot ♪ ♪ You grimy, you gangsta?
You really ain't 'bout it ♪ ♪ You was in school, I was flipping narcotics ♪ SIMS: North Heights of Amarillo, Texas.
And this is my neighborhood, this is where I grew up at, and... What I do?
I'd rather not answer what I do, but I do what I got to do.
Know what I'm saying?
The biggest problem living in the Heights is, like, adversity, you're, you're up against, you know what I'm saying?
Well, I recently lost a couple, like, a few friends, and...
It's, uh, like I said, whenever there's nothing to do, you know what I'm saying, problems...
Tension gets high, and people want to find something to do.
You know what I'm saying?
And just, that's a (bleep)-up situation, it really is.
GRAYSON CARTER: I'm working two jobs even though I have a degree, because there's not a lot of opportunity here, especially at entry level, because everything requires experience and a degree.
I want to be a game warden or a park ranger, or some kind of wildlife or environmental science.
They would only hire me to work, like, the gate or, or cleaning up.
A lot of my friends, their kids, or their little brother, or their little sister-- their little sister is prostituting.
You know, like, getting turned out and doing tricks out here.
Just, just because that's, like, the lifestyle here, because that's the only way they've seen to get some money.
HAYDEN: Another reason why I decided to run was, I felt like there was a lot of reckless spending in Amarillo that benefited a certain group of people, while other communities were being absolutely ignored.
Because, for example, you can look at neighborhoods like San Jacinto, North Heights, East Ridge, historical neighborhoods that have a lot of value to Amarillo, but have been held back for so long.
♪ ♪ TREMAINE BROWN: Shi Lee's Barbecue and Soul Food, it's me and my mother's restaurant.
And ever since we've been here, I use it as my soapbox.
Small, little, ugly soapbox it may be, but a soapbox all the same.
And I stand on top of it.
I always speak about politics, because everything that I do is based on kids and parks and opportunities for those kids as they grow older.
- Oh, Lord, they watching us!
(laughing) Y'all going to ask me any questions, or y'all just gonna film me yelling?
Get you a United sack, and take a step, drop a egg, take a step, drop a egg.
I need a bigger concentration of eggs right here in front of this basketball court.
We going as far as the eye can see with, with all these eggs.
This is what Easter looks like to me.
Just eggs everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.
I just let y'all know.
I didn't boil, I didn't stuff, not one egg.
I never have, and I don't think I ever will.
(laughs) - Smile!
Say "happy Easter," yeah!
Happy Easter, yeah!
TREMAINE BROWN: When you're a child, you really don't pick up on the discrepancies or the differences, but there's just a huge growth on the south side of town.
And on the north side of town, there's a huge project of tearing down.
There's nothing vibrant.
You know, as soon as you cross the tracks, the color goes away except on the Black faces.
That's the only color you see.
Everything is shades of gray.
The city, they think people don't see that, but I see it.
(wind blowing) The whole idea of elitists controlling is part of the political culture of Texas, where the better families and the plantation owners made all the decisions and they suppressed voting.
Texas has the lowest voting participation in the United States.
The wealthy don't want "those people" voting, because they know best.
"Massa knows best-- we'll handle this for you."
And that's the way it goes.
LOVEJOY: The attitude of Amarillo is, don't talk about it, don't worry about it.
While other parts of our state-- Austin, Arlington, Dallas-- are getting rid of symbols of the Confederacy, we tiptoe around that issue, and we still have a rebel general in a park.
We still have an elementary school named after a rebel general.
Robert E. Lee never lived here.
We have something named after him, but we know what that symbol stands for.
Those symbols disappeared after the Civil War, and they came back, actually, after soldiers came back from World War I to the South, and the South said, "We don't want these (bleep) being too uppity.
So (bleep) know your place."
And so we started putting Robert E. Lee and we started the Stars and Bars, the rebel flag.
And it's a false analogy.
What are we going to do about that?
Are the young politicians going to address those issues that we have in our community?
Or are they just gonna play lip service to get elected, and then play the game?
When you step up and say, "I want to represent a people," you have to figure out sometimes what they're getting out of it.
- What made you decide to run for council?
I think there should be a reform.
I think we should go to voting by district instead of at large.
I believe that a mayor and four council members elected at large representing 200,000 residents isn't working.
Certain parts of Amarillo are being held back and are not being paid attention to, while others are being developed.
If you look at similar-sized cities as Amarillo, they ditched the at-large format decades ago.
I want the city to get better as a whole, not individual parts, because that's not a progression of a city, that's progressions of a class.
A city that only progresses in parts is not progressing as a city.
- Thank you so much for coming in this morning.
- Thank you.
- I appreciate you.
- Thank you.
BLACKBURN: My name's Jeff, I'm Jeff Blackburn, how are you?
WOMAN: Good to meet you.
- Nice to meet you, too.
This is Hayden Pedigo, the big shot.
- Hi, nice to meet you-- and your name?
HAYDEN: So I met with Jeff for the first time, and I think I had expectations going into it on what it was going to be like, but he offered to help me on my campaign and give me advice on running, running for city council, so, I took him up on that offer because I need his help.
L'HANNAH: I don't know, maybe Jeff sees a little bit of Hayden, like, in himself.
Like, maybe, a younger Jeff.
Jeff Blackburn is a provocateur, has been his whole life.
So, I'm sure he saw Hayden and went, "I want to be part of this, I want to help this kid stir up some (bleep)."
BLACKBURN (over phone): You know, you've got to put down like we talked about before, the three things that are controversial and that matter to you.
- That really matter, and then never get off message.
You're different because you do have ideas, and I don't, I think you're, you're a very serious candidate.
L'HANNAH: I think he's a friend and a mentor and maybe even a father figure in some ways.
Yeah, I think he's a little bit of all of that.
And I know it means a lot to Hayden when Jeff says that he's proud of him.
BLACKBURN: That's the decision we got to finish.
Where do you want to, what do you want to do?
It's up to us.
And thank you very much for the indulgence.
I appreciate it.
(audience applauds) Was it all right?
- It was great.
It was fun to watch.
- Kid, I'm gonna tell you, if you would get up and say, "I think that, that Amarillo should pass a resolution in favor of legalizing marijuana," you'd pick up a thousand votes.
- That's something that, if somebody asked me, I would agree with them would get into, but if I have a short amount of time, I'm going to go after the things that I think... - Do you remember what we we talked about before?
You got to open the can.
- You have to have a can opener, and then people go, like, "What?
Did he just say that?"
It's, like, "You know what else I think?"
A, B, C, D. - Yeah.
Controversy's not always the key tool to getting your message out.
- Well, I don't believe that.
(bleep) - That's not my stance.
I'm not going to go up and talk about decriminalizing marijuana because it's too controversial.
I'm not going to go and talk about it, because I feel I may not be fully educated enough to talk to a crowd of people on that topic.
- Then you should have gotten educated before you decided to run for god(bleep) office.
- Yeah, but that's not in my top three issues why I'm even running, and I'm not going to make up reasons why I'm running.
- All right!
- Because then at that point... - Let's just agree to disagree.
I'm going to go.
HAYDEN: I maybe don't have the thickest skin in terms of people saying negative things about me, and Jeff has been an asset in one way, because it's kind of nice to have somebody on your side who's hurling the worst criticisms towards you.
He was either slapping me in the face or giving me a hug.
Sometimes it's best to have somebody stab you in the front than stab you in the back.
Jeff will always stab you in the front, you know?
So I think that was good for me.
This guy can't even agree with the governor of Texas about decriminalizing marijuana.
This is the easiest position, and the new Republican Party believes that!
♪ ♪ So, me and Jeff talked the next day, and after we talked about music for an hour, the argument got brought up because Jeff was saying, "Yeah, young people support you online, but they don't support you in real life."
I said to Jeff, I was, like, "Hey, what's going on at your office Saturday the 13th?"
And he said, "Nothing," and I said, "Can I post on Facebook that I'm throwing a rally there?"
And he was, like, "Sure."
And I said, "Okay, I'm going to get so many people there that it makes you mad."
He really believes that Facebook is reality.
Anyone can sit on their butt and say, "Cool," "Like."
I'm wanting a rally that is insane.
(recorded music playing) Well...
I mean, I...
I wish more people would've showed up.
I feel like you never know, with, especially with political-type events, I feel like it's hard to, uh, you know.
(bagpipes playing "Scotland the Brave") You gotta mingle with the crowd.
You gotta go talk to people and ask, and tell everybody you're so happy that they're here.
HAYDEN: I know.
What's up, man?
- How are you doing?
- How's it going?
- Who did that?
(song continues) REPORTER: You've made a huge push for trying to get the youth to come out and vote.
- Can you explain that a little bit to me?
I'm trying to talk to people my age and get them involved, so we can make a change and move our city in a more positive direction.
Stuff like this always makes me anxious.
BLACKBURN: You-- why?
- I don't want to look dumb.
- As long as there are more people in the audience than there are on the stage, what?
- No one will laugh at me.
- It's-- no, it's a success.
- Yeah, very true, I agree with that.
BLACKBURN: Let's give Hayden Pedigo a big hand.
(crowd cheers and applauds) WOMAN: Love you, Hayden.
Amarillo for decades has been a very fractured place.
There's so many groups and communities that are all separated from each other.
They've been ignored, and until we make a change, this is just going to keep happening over and over and over.
Be honest, how was that?
BLACKBURN: I thought it was the best you've done so far.
- Awesome, good, good.
- All right?
- So I think you're discovering something called policy.
- Mm-hmm, yeah.
- That's good.
- I'm trying, I'm trying.
- Yeah, I think you're getting there.
- I mean, the, the forums have been kind of lighting a fire under my butt, 'cause they've... A couple of them have been starting to get kind of... - Those forums mean nothing compared to the fact that you can put together a group of people that are your actual supporters.
♪ ♪ WOMAN: Why do you want to help Hayden?
- 'Cause Hayden looks like he really wants to make a change.
He wants to bring more diversity, and to, like, make everybody feel like their region and their area matters.
And you don't hear that often here in Amarillo, so...
He's doing some good (bleep), he really is.
He's, he's opening...
He's opening people's mind up, you know what I'm saying?
No one else young is, in our town, caring enough to, to get all this done.
He's here for Amarillo, and he will help it grow in ways that aren't just money downtown.
And I applaud Hayden for having what I would consider the right motivations to get involved in city government.
Seeing Hayden do that is, that's really inspiring.
And it just makes me think it's not as hard as you think it is to do big things like that.
He wants to see us thrive as a city.
And I think that's a good thing for a young kid, especially, to be an example of that.
What can we do with where we're planted?
How can we make our city better?
I think the more this has gone on, kind of the heavier it's felt, you know?
It's not a joke.
I think it can be inspiring, but it's constantly fighting inspiring and terrifying.
(plane engine roaring) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ This is cool, it's just a little nerve-racking.
I'm just a little nervous.
(people talking in background) I just don't want to be nervous while doing it.
That's one thing I'm kind of worried about.
I'm sure, like, if I talk to him for, like, ten seconds before, it'll work, it'll be fine.
TIM HEIDECKER: Hi!
- How are you?
- Hi, I'm Hayden.
- Good to meet you, Hayden.
- Nice to meet you.
- How are you?
- I'm doing good.
- Are we on film, are we on camera?
- I think so.
- Hi, how are you?
HAYDEN: For the, for the story... (Hayden chuckling) HAYDEN: ...one of the biggest controversies was, North Heights had a public swimming pool that's been there for years.
- I went to that pool as a kid.
- A couple of months ago, the city came out and they said, "Hey, we're shutting down the pool.
It's not in good shape anymore."
- So the neighborhood, the North Heights neighborhood, was very up in arms, going, "You're taking away our pool, and..." Just make the, make the repairs, do the work, right?
- Well, this is what ended up happening, was, they sent a rep from the city, he was, like, "The, the pool is too far beyond repair.
"We can't fix it, we would have to rebuild it.
"And that cost would be $3 to $4 million.
And we just don't have that right now, sorry."
And then a few weeks later, the city approved $4 million for the scoreboard at the baseball stadium.
For the scoreboard.
- And then, so this community, that's, like, "You're taking away one of our amenities..." - Right.
- "This pool that's been a service to kids here..." - Public space.
- Yeah, "For decades."
- That, that is a massive benefit to that area of town.
"You're taking it away and your answer is, "'Sorry, we don't have the money.
There's nothing we can do for you.'"
And then you demonstrate a second later that there clearly is the money, it's just... - Yeah, but the money is only there if it's something they want to spend it on.
- And a community pool's not going to make them money.
- So what do kids do if you live in a neighborhood with nothing?
- You take it away, and they're, like "Oh, I wonder why crime's going up."
- It's 'cause you keep taking... - You cause trouble.
- Yeah, you keep taking every, everything away... - Right.
- And then playing stupid and acting like it's somewhere else.
(sighs) It's so depressing.
- Yeah, it is, it is depressing for me... - (chuckling): Yeah.
And that's why I've...
I guess what I, what I told people, I originally, when the videos were blowing up, I had this crossroads moment: either I can not run, take the attention, and laugh this off, or do I take that attention I'm getting and know how to form it into something more important?
You know, now I'm making rich old people in Amarillo angry because I'm calling out things they don't want you to talk about.
Right-- where are you ideologically politically?
I've always said that I kind of just exist in the middle, maybe one of those younger people that's fried on politics.
- So I was invited, I got a message that I was invited to the Amarillo Tea Party Group forum.
MAN: Glad you made it.
(people talking in background) ALL (in unison): I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God... (talking in background) HAYDEN: Hello, my name is Hayden Pedigo.
I'm running for city council place one.
The reason why I decided to run was, I believe the low voter turnout combined with at-large elections is the reason there wasn't fair representation in Amarillo.
The system isn't working, and we need to move forward and have a more progressive government.
A guy came up afterwards... HEIDECKER: Oh, yeah.
- And he was, like, "What did you mean by 'progressive'?"
- He was, like, "One of the guys back there said that "he wanted to punch you in the face when you said 'progressive.'"
And I said, "I meant, like..." - Mandatory abortions.
- (chuckling): Yeah, well, I said... "You literally have to be gay now."
(laughing): You said that to him?
- No, I...
I thought it, but... - Right.
- But that was the thing, I meant progressive in the literal sense of progress.
- But it's almost like... - It is funny how that's become a, a derogatory term for people, "progressive."
BLACKBURN: When you do that in a town like this, you get marginalized quickly as a radical or a liberal that no one should listen to.
And that's a really great way-- here, where we only have one political party, the party of the insane-- it's a great way to, to foreclose any discussion about anything.
♪ ♪ (TV playing in background) HAYDEN: So, Amarillo Matters released their 2019 voters' guide, and they have a picture of me with...
In red letters, it says "Not recommended."
"A 24-year-old "local musician, Pedigo's campaign "has been called a 'art project,' "inspired by an independent movie he saw.
"His first 'campaign'"-- it says "'campaign' video "shows him throwing a metal folding chair "around a park and measuring various outdoor areas "with a tape measure.
"He says his campaign is serious, "but evidence indicates it is a satire or commentary.
We do not recommend Mr.
(person chuckling in background) Well, (bleep).
Their, honestly, every single one of their disses are kind of, like, gold, because they're so weird.
"Pedigo's left-handed, and statistics show "that most serial killers are left-handed.
We would not recommend him at this time."
Like, that's basically what they're... (laughing): What they're saying.
"I saw Hayden Pedigo in the same room as a kid once.
Possibly a pedophile."
"I saw Hayden Pedigo wear a bandana once.
Possibly a Crip or a Muslim."
Or a Crip Muslim.
(chuckles) You can't lead if you're not able and willing to take a few arrows in the back.
We've had so many arrows in the back.
And part of it is because you, you stepped into the arena.
Here's what I think is, is admirable about Amarillo Matters.
They have stepped into the arena and they're participating in the process, and anyone can do that.
If, if you don't like what they're doing, start your own group.
You have to do something to activate people, a political action committee.
So we have one here in Amarillo, and they're-- you know what?
They're popping up all over the state.
They're not trying to manipulate people.
They're trying to move cities forward.
HAYDEN: "For 30 years, Dr. Eddy Sauer is "a trusted family dentist and friends to all.
"A graduate of our public schools and West Texas A&M, Dr. Sauer strongly supports education."
"Pedigo strongly supports oxygen."
Like, no one's gonna (bleep) say they're against education.
"Dr. Sauer provides a voice of experience and expertise on, on medical issues."
(in deep voice): Thank you, Dr. Sauer.
I personally will govern myself with an ethic that I will, I will not choose to bash or to break down with my words.
Sadly, in the political arena, there are groups that choose the other route.
And it's amazing, though, how God can keep your heart soft toward people even while people aren't soft with their words.
("Old Town Road" playing) WOMAN: ♪ Ma'am, we're gonna take these funds ♪ ♪ From the old city hall, we're gonna build ♪ ♪ A new civic center ♪ - Right.
♪ We're gonna take these funds from the old city hall ♪ ♪ We're gonna fund animal shelters ♪ ♪ Or we could take these funds from the old city hall ♪ ♪ And maybe build a brand-new stadium ♪ Ma'am, it's our entire job to ♪ Use the old city hall to make the commun... ♪ Is she even listening?
- I'm thinking not.
♪ This is so exciting... ♪ GINGER NELSON: You know, I, I don't know what to say to those people that are saying those things.
Those aren't the facts, and I've shared that as many times and in as many conversations as I know how to share, and, uh... What it, what it boils down to for our family is, we just keep serving, because I can't convince 200,000 people what the truth is.
♪ Ma'am, this is dismaying, taxpayers are paying ♪ - It'll take 3,000 years to pay off.
♪ La la la la, can't hear what you're saying ♪ ♪ Can't nobody tell me nothin' ♪ - ♪ You can't tell her nothin' ♪ ♪ Can't nobody tell me... ♪ The mayor doesn't have to run her campaign like that, because Amarillo Matters plays the role of the dirty guy.
That way, none of the incumbents have any responsibility for the nasty things that are said about their opponents.
Corporate, business-like city government will do anything to retain power.
I really hope that more people now are starting to be, like, "Maybe this group, group is, like, full of (bleep)."
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ So, it's Soncy to Coulter... - Oh, thank you.
"A good choice for Amarillo."
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ HAYDEN: How are you?
My name's Hayden Pedigo, I'm running for city council here.
I'm passing out these voter guides... - Okay.
- About some of the candidates.
This is just a little piece of paper with my name saying "place one."
- So this is my first day of doing any type of door-knocking.
- Okay, a little campaigning?
- Yeah, a little bit.
- All right.
- Well, thank you.
- Good luck and good to meet you.
- Thank you, good to meet you.
HAYDEN: I hate this whole thing, dude, like no joke.
I just, this is so uncomfortable.
Like, just not cool at all.
- (quietly): Right.
(murmurs) Okay, so, um...
If you want, I'll do most of the talking.
I do this ten, 12 hours a day.
- I just use a segue, and I'm the guy the mayor arrested.
- (laughing): That, that's a classic.
- If they laugh, they laugh or smile, I usually got a sign in.
- If not... - Okay.
- I get the heck out of there as quick as possible.
- Oh, okay.
Do you call on people that just don't answer?
- Oh, yeah.
- Guess the majority of them.
- Oh, really?
- And then, of course... HAYDEN: Hi.
Hi, hi, ma'am?
(woman speaking inaudibly) BILLUPS: We're just going to give you some literature on the election.
(woman speaking inaudibly) BILLUPS (laughing): Thank you.
My hands are freezing off.
BILLUPS: Hey, Hayden?
- (loudly): Yeah.
BILLUPS: We've got a good chance of them being home because there's two cars.
- (sighing): Okay, God, I...
Okay, I'm gonna try this.
(sighs) BLACKBURN: He's not wired that way.
He's not political.
I ask him several times, "Do you want to talk about the water situation?"
"Did you read the books I gave you?"
"I'm-- it's just too overwhelming," he's told me.
Well, then, don't run for office.
(text notifications chirping) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ HAYDEN: Last Sunday was kind of strange for me, 'cause that morning was probably the most discouraged I've ever been.
Like, "Why am I doing this?"
And, uh... Luckily, I ended up going to the South Sudanese church.
- (speaking softly) Introduce yourself.
- (whispers): Introduce yourself.
- Oh, I'm Hayden.
(all chuckling) When we have somebody, they're running for that council, you know, we need to know what he can do to us.
We have a lot of issues that is affecting us here.
We need to hear from you what you can do to us as a South Sudanese community.
HAYDEN: I didn't come here to say exactly what I can do for you outside of listen, 'cause I think that's kind of the first thing.
I kind of wanted to come and meet you all and listen to your experiences, because I feel like currently, our council isn't listening.
The South Sudanese community is quite large here in Amarillo, and they're just always working constantly.
Over there, there's, like, a meat packaging place.
And it's, like, the beef capital, I guess, of...
Depending on who it helps, it...
I guess of the world-- it helps feed a lot of people.
They wake up at 4:00 in the morning, come home at 2:00 p.m. so they can rush and go pick up their kids from school and then go home and sleep.
It is, it's like slave work, it is...
I don't know, it's cold, or it's hot.
You don't... Once you go in that building, it's just you and your thoughts and that machine humming in your ear while you're cutting meat or you're packaging meat.
There is so many families that are scattered right now.
We have so many young people.
Now they go to jail, you know, their record already messed up.
Now, some people, they don't even have a job.
We don't know what to do, and we don't know who, where we can go so we can find help.
It, it means the world to me that y'all let me come here and speak and listen, you know.
It's always humbling for me to stand in front of people and hear what they need.
You know, it's, it's also somewhat scary, because you, I, you don't want to disappoint people, you know.
Because y'all are equally a part of Amarillo as anyone else, and you deserve to have a voice as much as anyone else, and thank you for telling me your concerns.
(applauding) MAN: And what's your name?
My name is Hayden Pedigo.
- Hayden, Hayden, okay.
HAYDEN: It ended up being probably my favorite event I've done, just overall.
It was the most gratifying in terms of why I'm even doing this.
That's probably the, the most meaningful thing that's happened.
It was a great day.
It started off absolutely terrible, with me crying.
And then it ended like that.
And, you know, had me kind of tearing up for an exact opposite reason, but it was, it was great.
And gave me a lot more hope, you know?
I invited Hayden to, um, a South Sudanese celebration.
That's, like, the time for them to let loose and have fun, you know?
I want him to come and show the community that it's, they're not alone, you know?
There's somebody that wants to run for council, that wants to make a change, that would be a part of the change and feel like we matter, as well.
(music playing in background) (music stops) Oh, man.
ALOAK: They say there's a Sudanese time, because you say the event starts at 7:00, but really the event won't start till 9:00, because people won't get there till 9:00, you know?
(laughs) The latest one that I went to was, like, till 8:00 in the morning.
I told my mom I had to go, so I left her.
(laughs): I don't know what time she got back.
They are busy working.
- Some of them are getting off from work.
- They're going to be here.
- But they're going to be late.
They know at this place, they're going to stay until morning.
- Yeah, oh, wow.
- So they, they get here at 11:00 and don't leave till 10:00 a.m. the next day?
- Some people, they don't leave until tomorrow morning.
- How do they stay awake?
(upbeat song playing) (woman singing in world language) I have to go speak.
(yawning): And I'm beat.
I'm running for Amarillo City Council because I want to see our city get better for everyone, because sometimes I feel like it's only gotten better for certain parts of Amarillo.
Again, thank y'all so much.
My name is Hayden Pedigo and I'm running for city council.
(guests applauding) - Thank you.
- Thank you.
Thank you, good to see you.
They were the only group that didn't treat me like a joke.
I might've given them some hope, but they gave me hope.
It was inspiring, but it was also scary, 'cause this is real life with real people that have real hopes and goals and dreams.
And you're somebody that could help them.
(man singing in world language) BOL NGOR: It is beginning now, it's just the beginning.
But if he have that heart, he will do a lot for the communities of Amarillo, and not just the South Sudanese community.
So, if we find somebody like him, which try to bring all the community together, that what we're looking for.
(music continues) L'HANNAH: I've never experienced kindness like that, and when she said, "We love Amarillo 'cause, 'cause we can sleep here in peace"... (voice trembling): I've never had fear like that before, and it's wanting to help them and not know how.
I think that's the thing, 'cause I, I don't want to let these people down that we met now.
Just not knowing how to help them.
This whole experience has opened our eyes and, and we can't shut them now, from what we've learned and what we've seen.
Which is gonna be difficult to move forward, and we're going to move forward, but trying to figure out just how to make it better for people.
- Thank you so much for coming.
- Thank you.
- And those cameramen, thank you, guys, fantastic.
(all laugh) I know you guys have had a long, long day.
(all laughing) It's okay.
STODEL: Thank you for having us.
- All right, thank you so much for everything.
STODEL: You're very kind, very kind, very, very kind.
- Thank you so much.
- Thank you.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (man singing indistinctly) ♪ ♪ (man singing indistinctly) ♪ ♪ That's amazing, Malcolm.
- That's huge.
Yeah, it looks great.
- It looks awesome.
- (bleep) BYERS: I really support him, 'cause, I mean, he's right whenever he says that younger people don't care about politics.
I had no idea about any of the city council stuff until he started running.
Even while he's been running, I feel like I've been more involved with community stuff that I would never have been involved with or even known about.
I honestly couldn't say a bad thing about Hayden.
♪ ♪ Today's May 4.
♪ ♪ (laughing) (people talking in background) TINA SAUER: We're going to go to a, a campaign party tonight, and then we'll go probably get some cake.
Oh, my strategy is, if you do, like... You do just a few little things people my age normally can't do, and then a jump.
WOMAN: Okay, again?
Okay, this way.
♪ ♪ HAYDEN: There's a lot going through my head right now.
Mainly just trying to stay relaxed, you know.
But I'm excited.
MAN: Today was the first day that I think I ever voted in a local election.
- Whatever happens tonight or any night like this, like, it's all great initiative.
ALL: Pedigo vote.
- Pedigo vote.
(laughs) MAN: Vote for Hayden Pedigo.
That's basically what we're saying.
- Pedigo vote.
- He's a good man doing a good thing.
DIANA: I haven't voted yet.
Um, I'm just praying that the Lord goes in and shows me who to vote for when I go to the ballot.
I'm praying that He highlights names and says this person would be good for the city.
I don't really look at the political side of it.
I just ask the Lord, "Who do You want over Your city?"
And then He's faithful in showing me who that is.
♪ ♪ ♪ Oh, Sister Brazil's ♪ ♪ Sightseeing airline ♪ ♪ Sister Brazil ♪ ♪ Making me feel ♪ ♪ Fine ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Fine ♪ ♪ Oh, fine ♪ ♪ Oh, fine... ♪ We'll see how it goes.
I'll just feel so bad, like, having everyone here if I bomb.
I'll be, like, "Sorry, sorry, y'all."
♪ Fine ♪ ♪ ♪ We'll see what happens.
♪ ♪ (thunder claps and rumbles) (thunder rumbling, rain pouring) HAYDEN: Excuse me, everyone.
(cheering, clapping) Thank y'all.
(applause continues) MAN: Texas!
- My name is Hayden Pedigo, and I ran for city council.
I, I got the news that out of the four people that ran for place one, I came in second place.
(all cheering) (cheering and applauding) But I want to tell you guys tonight, I am celebrating, and I feel very excited, because the thing is, this experience has been beyond beautiful for me.
I never thought I would be running for city council in Amarillo, I never thought I'd be meeting the peoples, people in the communities I did, and I'm inspired to be living here.
And I want to see the changes that I've been talking about, so our city can progress as a whole.
And even though I lost this time, this isn't the end for me, and I think it's only the beginning.
This is a beautiful city, but I don't think we should just be letting all the 60-and-up-year-olds decide the future of our city, because we live here, too.
(cheering and applauding over Hayden) I'm going to say thank you.
I'll say my name is Hayden Pedigo, I'm running for city council place one, I lost.
Thank you all so much.
(all cheering) And I believe now, we have Lake Dabs going on, am I correct?
(cheering) Give it up for Lake Dabs.
(guests cheering over Hayden) (band playing) (woman cheers) (band playing) (singer exclaims) If everybody could kind of work their way over here, I think Eddy and Ginger are going to say a couple of things.
GINGER NELSON: It's just been an amazing...
I don't know where to start.
Two years, two-and-a-half years, two weeks?
All of it, and you guys have been at the core of it, and actually it's, it's a team that the Lord built.
EDDY SAUER: So, this has to be something that the Lord willed, and, um, and honestly, the other reason I know that the Lord willed it is because my right-hand person.
(guests cheering and applauding) Get over here.
How was that?
- Very good.
- (inaudible) - I'm very proud of you.
I've never voted before, but I did this time.
(man speaks inaudibly) - I know.
- We've gotta go.
(people talking in background) - People don't understand...
Honestly, now, this sounds stupid, but if we don't vote, we don't matter.
- You know something?
(thunder rumbling, band playing) ♪ ♪ (Blackburn clicking tongue) Yuki, come here.
No interest in that.
That's my kind of animal.
(Yuki barks) She's sort of a thinking animal, but her thoughts are stupid.
STODEL: Why don't you ever run?
That's not my job, okay?
I already created an office that I elected myself to, which is the chief pain in the (bleep) around here.
You know, I'm happy with, with retaining that job... (laughs): ...and serving as an incumbent.
(radio playing) LOVEJOY: I don't think I'd ever want to be an elected official.
I think you have to worship at too many altars.
I hope to see that the same people that are going to council meetings and are vocal and out there doing something and out there saying, "I'm standing for this," continue.
Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.
And I don't want to be one of those people that I look back and didn't use my life to the fullest.
I mean, truly, at the end of the short, brief time here on Earth, we want to know that we used our time to have an impact.
♪ ♪ L'HANNAH: Our marriage is really good now.
And I do believe that the election and him running brought us closer, just 'cause Hayden has grown from this, I have grown from this.
I feel like everybody involved have grown from this.
I think he's got a good heart, and as long as he goes into anything in life and his intentions are pure, I will support him.
HAYDEN: Hopefully people can learn that...
I think if there's something you're passionate about, and you want to speak up on, you can be heard.
Doesn't mean you're going to win, but people know about it, and just putting it out there changes the landscape.
And to me, it's like chopping something down.
I might've put in the first hit with the ax, I might've put in the first chip, and there's a lot of room to go, but I put out the possibility that something can be cut down if we want it.
I feel like we grew together.
- You definitely inspired me.
- You inspired me.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Yeah!
♪ Baby, it's a rollercoaster, don't stop ♪ ♪ Better take a hold, spin it like a top ♪ ♪ Well, that's right ♪ ♪ That's right ♪ ♪ People all around, things are gonna change ♪ ♪ Everybody knows they're gonna stay the same, though ♪ ♪ That's right, that's right ♪ ♪ Give a little toast, do a little smile ♪ ♪ I can tell you every time, it's all right ♪ ♪ It's not right ♪ ♪ Every time you stay, I get going my way ♪ ♪ Well, I know your type ♪ ♪ Oh, that's all right ♪ ♪ That's right, that's right ♪ ♪ Hey, ooh ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ Hey, ooh ♪ ♪ Hey... ♪