Black Diamond’s Mike Parkin
The first Tuesday after the first Monday in November is legally defined as Election Day. Forty-five years ago, on Tuesday, November 2, 1971, Black Diamond’s Mike Parkin became the youngest person every elected to office in Washington state. Parkin was only 18 years old and had just graduated from Enumclaw High School (Class of 1971) that June. Mike’s grandfather, William Parkin had moved from Carbonado to Black Diamond in the early days of its fame as a coal-mining town. On July 1, 1971, the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect lowering the voting age to 18. That fall Parkin ran for Black Diamond City Council defeating the 10-year incumbent, Angiolo Mariotti. The election was won in a squeaker, 125 votes to 120. After his election, Parkin promised “to bring a younger viewpoint” to city affairs, stating, “We can’t live in olden times forever – we can’t stay closed off from the world.” He served one term on the Council during the same time Vic Weston was Mayor. After a year at Green River Community College, Parkin went to work in the logging industry and recently retired after 45 years, having primarily worked for small-scale gyppo loggers. Mike still lives in Black Diamond.