In a historic win, an 18-year-old college freshman has become the youngest Black mayor in US history.
Jaylen Smith, a graduate of Earle High School in Arkansas, won the runoff election to become the mayor of the town of Earle, which has a population of just under 2,000 people.
Smith, who received 218 votes compared to his opponent Nemi Matthews Sr.’s 139, said he was confident he would win but was still shocked when he received the news of his victory. He said he plans to focus on transportation, public safety, and bringing a major grocery store to the city.
In an interview with NBC News, Smith said he hopes his win will inspire other young people to get into politics. He also talked about the significance of his win as someone diagnosed with a learning disability. He said his disability makes it hard for him to do well on standardized tests, but it does not take away from what he is able to do, and in fact, motivates him more to achieve greatness.
Smith’s parents have supported his campaign “every step of the way,” and he said he is enjoying this moment of greatness with friends and family. His victory has been shared more than 800 times on Facebook, and Smith said he feels grateful for the opportunity to make history.
“Generations and generations of people will read about this historical moment,” he said. “It feels awesome.”