The local gay official looks back on year one 

Nick Shalosky

Nick Shalosky was an unusual election winner for one of Charleston County's eight constituent school boards, and not just because he's the first openly gay politician in S.C. to win public office.

Primarily responsible for student transfers and bus routes, the constituent boards are typically full of active parents or the occasional elder community leader looking to do something with his or her time.

Shalosky, a 22-year-old College of Charleston student, decided to run when he noticed that there weren't many candidates. He got 23 votes last November, enough to get him elected. The Advocate, the leading gay and lesbian news magazine, featured Shalosky in a collection of 40 young GLBT people making a difference.

Board discussions have occasionally turned, jokingly, on a line from one board member or another: "We've all had kids in these schools ... except for one of us."

Shalosky says that his youth has been an asset for the board.

"I was just out of public schools three years ago," he says, a graduate from Conway. "I can give a student perspective that others can't."

Having worked on campaigns before, Shalosky says that he's got a new appreciation for a politician's job.

"It's interesting, you have to pick your battles," he says.

Shalosky is serving a four-year term, but he graduates next year, so it remains to be seen whether gainful employment gets in the way of his position.

Regardless, Shalosky has caught the election bug, and he will be running for office again.

"I'm going to be in politics my whole life," he says.

The Gay Issue 2009

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