As Monica Mallon begins a new school year, she's also beginning her campaign for county supervisor and she's taking it very seriously.
Mallon, 18, may seem like your average high schooler. "I started Tae-kwon-do when I was, I think, 12 years old and I'm probably going to be getting my black belt very soon," she said.
But a closer look reveals an ambitious spirit beyond her years.
"I'm running for District 5 Supervisor in Santa Clara County," Mallon said.
The fifth district spans across northern Santa Clara County and includes the city of Saratoga, which is where the Woodside Priory senior and her family have lived for the past few years.
"You might think that I'm too young or too inexperienced, or that it would be almost impossible for me to win," Mallon said in a YouTube campaign announcement.
But for Mallon, it isn't just about winning.
She says she's serious about making a statement. Her hope is to ensure the voices of her generation are heard.
"I just want to influence politics in Silicon Valley and just help with a lot of problems that are going on," Mallon said.
She will be the first to tell you that she knows her chances are slim. Current District 5 Supervisor Joe Simitian, himself a proponent of getting young people involved in the political process, looks forward to having Mallon as a challenger.
"I was myself a 22-year-old candidate for the local school board in Palo Alto some years ago. I lost that first effort, came back a few years later to run and win a seat on that school board, and that was what started me in my public service career. So who knows what is in this young woman's future," Simitian said.
In the meantime, Mallon says she'll carry on, insistent that she isn't doing this to beef up her resume.
"There's people here who are really pursuing their dreams and I just want to be a part of that, and help stand up for those people," she said.
The primary election will be held next spring. Win or lose, it will be a valuable experience.