A 68-year-old man who legally changed his name to Santa Claus has been elected to the city council in North Pole, Alaska. Congratulations, Santa Claus.
Santa Claus (born Thomas Patrick O’Connor) is just a simple man who found joy in dressing up as the real-life-fake Santa Claus for the children of his town before officially claiming the name for himself in 2005.
“I enjoyed playing Santa Claus immensely, and it was well received with the children,” he says.
Claus, previously president of the North Pole Chamber of Commerce, won the open city council seat after a write-in vote.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, he wrote:
“I’m happy to announce that I have been elected to the North Pole City Council! My thanks to everyone who voted for me, the news media that covered my campaign, and all who supported my run for office via social media. I look forward to continuing to serve my community :-)}”
USA Today reports:
Claus, who has almost 300,000 likes on Facebook, said he strives to promote the Christmas message of giving and love throughout the year. He notes that while he may look like Santa Claus and shares his name, he doesn’t share the unbridled message of consumerism that Claus has come to encompass.
Claus—who’s also a monk and has run for President of the United States twice—says, “The message I try to share with children is that the greatest gift you can give is love and not presents.” He once said in 2013 that he uses the name Santa Claus “as sort of a mechanism for prompting state and federal officials to co-sign or sign legislation that has a positive effect on children’s health, safety and welfare.”
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