Voters in Earle, Arkansas elected Jaylen Smith, an 18 year old, to be their mayor in a runoff election yesterday, Tuesday, Dec. 6. Smith is a recent graduate of Earle High School in the predominantly black town of 1,831 people, as of the 2020 census. The win makes him the youngest black mayor ever in the country.
The Hill reports that Smith garnered 218 votes, beating his opponent Nemi Matthews Sr. who received 139 votes.
Smith proclaimed the announcement on his Facebook page yesterday:
“Citizens of Earle, Arkansas, it’s official!! I am your newly elected Mayor of Earle, Arkansas… “It’s Time to Build a Better Chapter of Earle, Arkansas.” I would like to thank all my supporters for stepping up getting people to the polls. I am truly grateful for you all.”
Smith joins a pretty short list of teenage mayors in the U.S.
John Hammons was just 19 years old when he became mayor of Muskogee, Oklahoma, a city of about 35,000, reported Muskogee Phoenix. He served two terms before stepping down to attend law school.
Michael Sessions became mayor of Hillsdale, Michigan at age 18 when he was elected in 2005, reports The Denver Post. That city has roughly 8,000 residents.
Ben Simons may have been the youngest when he became mayor at 18 of Yoncalla, Oregon, a city of about 1,000 people, reports NBC 5.
As mayor, Smith has proclaimed his focus will be on rebuilding the city in an effort her calls “Building A Better Chapter of Earle, Arkansas.”
On his Facebook page, he said “That means improving our public safety, beautifying the city, abandon houses, new housing, transportation, new businesses, grocery store, water systems, flooding problems, streets, etc. Also implementing police safety plans, fire safety plans, emergency plans for storms such as tornadoes, snow, flooding’s, fires, shootings, and re-implementing our curfews.”
A few days prior to the election, Smith posted a premonition of good things to come: “I’m on the verge of something Big! Something mind-blowing and I can sense it in the Spirit! i am convinced I am not the only one. You too are at the eve of one of the greatest seasons of your life. Everything you’ve gone through is about to make sense. Stay focused. Remain still in His presence completely content until His will is made known to you. Trust me! The attacks upon you are confirmation that the enemy is nervous. You are closer than you have ever been!”
His hunch was right. We wish the young mayor-elect well on his journey in public service.
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