North Pole, AK recently elected a "Mr. Santa Claus" to its city council. Yup—this really happened.
A 68-year-old man who legally changed his name to Santa Claus recently won a write-in campaign for a position in the city council of North Pole, AK. The small, 2,000-population town welcomed Claus into their local government, and he couldn't be happier about it, after running on a platform that included "advocating for millions of children in dire straits."
Claus, who ran as an independent candidate, told ABC News, "I'm happy I'm here. It's a great community and I'm looking forward to serving it."
The ballots revealed that Claus had received 58 votes for the election. He was pitted against two other candidates, all vying for the opportunity to fill 2 vacant seats in the council.
Claus was the former president of the North Pole Chamber of Commerce—so he definitely has the local government skillset to serve.
In particular, he hopes to help open and establish medical marijuana dispensaries in North Pole, as he is a cancer patient who regularly uses medical marijuana.
Claus, who has quite a large social media following, is proud to bill himself as the "only man legally named Santa Claus ever to live in North Pole, Alaska."
Claus, who is an advocate and Christian monk, first got the idea to legally change his name when he was living in Lake Tahoe, NV, and decided to grow out his white, bushy beard for fun. People began telling him he should act as Santa Claus at Christmas. One day while praying about how to best use his image to benefit children, a car drove by and someone shouted, "Santa, I love you!" Taking the encounter as a sign, Claus started the name change process the very next day.
In the past, Claus has also worked as a emergency services chaplain, an actor (he's a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and a university lecturer.
Regarding his charitable work and advocacy, on his website he writes:
For more than a decade, I have been a volunteer advocate for millions of children who have been abused, neglected, exploited, abandoned, homeless, and institutionalized. Often, I support organizations and agencies that provide for the health, safety, and welfare of vulnerable children in dire straits. And, I state and federal legislators to persuade them to draft, sponsor, and pass legislation that improves our children's lives and future.
He welcomes personal notes and messages, but insists that he cannot and will not send presents to children. Either way, he does seem to have his sights set on higher goals...