An 18-year-old college student was elected to serve as the mayor of a small eastern Arkansas town, becoming one of the youngest people to serve as the top leader of a city in the US.
jaylen smithwho is African-American, was elected mayor of Earle in the runoff election Tuesday, winning 235 votes to Nemi Matthews’ 183according to complete but unofficial results.
Smith himself announced his victory with a post on his Facebook account. “Citizens of Earle, Arkansas, it’s official! I am already your newly elected mayor,” he wrote. “Time to build a better Earle, Arkansas chapter.” “I would like to thank all my supporters for getting people to the polls. I am very grateful to all of you, ”he concluded.
“My mom can’t stop crying,” Smith told the Washington Post on Wednesday.
He is among the youngest mayors elected in the United States and would be the youngest member of the Association of African American Mayors. Phyllis Dickerson, the association’s executive director, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the association’s youngest current member is Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, 35.
Smith is among a handful of people elected mayor before his 20th birthday, including Michael Sessions, who was elected mayor of Hillsdale, Michigan, in 2005 when he was 18; and John Tyler Hammons, who was elected mayor of Muskogee, Oklahoma, in 2008 when he was 19.
Smith, who graduated from Earle High School in May, campaigned to improve public safety and bring new businesses, including a grocery store, to the city of about 1,800 people 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of Memphis, Tennessee. He is a student at Arkansas State Mid-South University in West Memphis, Arkansas.
“People look at me, well I’m too young, he’s inexperienced, he’s just out of high school,” Smith told Little Rock television station KATV.
In an interview he did at the end of November with the American channel Fox 13, he explained part of his program. “First, I want to improve citizen security. And secondly, tear down the abandoned houses [para mejorar] transportation and being able to bring a supermarket here,” he declared about his plans.
(with information from AP)