Michael Verveer may be the youngest block captain in the history of city politics. But as far as Eugene Kinlow is concerned, 10-year-old Michael was his secret weapon in Kinlow's sucessful school board campaign.
It all began when Michael asked Kinlow, the newly elected at-large school board member for some campaign literature.
"I wrote to two candidates who I wanted to win," Michael said, "John Ray and Eugene Kinlow."
Only Kinlow answered his letter, Michael said, and soon afterward, Michael joined the Kinlow campaign, working his Chevy Chase neighborhood with a crusader-like fury.
On election day Kinlow won Michael's precinct with a whopping 67 percent of the vote.
Kinlow recalled: "He had posters at the corner, in front of the house and was ready to take me on a walking tour through the neighborhood.
"He knew everybody personally, and could tell me the details of whether or not they had children, if the children were school age, and if they were in Catholic school or public school."
On election day, Michael, a fifth grader at Lafayette Elementary School, asked his father take him to school at 7 a.m. The school was the polling site for Michael's neighborhood, Precinct 5.
Michael, without his parents' knowledge, cut classes to spend the day as any good block captain would. For 13 straight hours, he distributed leaflets, put up posters and encouraged people to "vote for Kinlow."
Melanne Verveer, Michael's mother, said her son is the only one in her family with political ambitions. His two sisters are apolitical, she said, and she and her husband Philip, an attorney with the Fcc, rarely follow local politics.
"I'm interested in politics and I follow the elections," said Michael, an avid reader of local newspapers, voter's guides and campaign literature. "I do want to be a politician and campaign manager."
Meanwhile, his other interests include Cub Scouts, the school safety patrol and ratification of the D.C. voting rights amendment.
Already, Michael has commited himself to Kinlow's reelection campaign in November.
"He's going to be in charge of this neighborhood," said Kinlow.
Grinning broadly, they both reached out and shook on it. CAPTION: Picture, Michael Verveer says he is already planning to help in Eugene Kinlow's reelection campaign next fall. By Joseph Heiberger-The Washington Post.