Jaylen Smith, an 18-year-old college student, has become the country’s youngest black mayor. According to the BBC, Smith was elected to the position of authority in the remote town of Earle, Arkansas, after defeating his opponent by a large margin, earning 235 votes to 185. In May 2022, Jaylen Smith graduated from Earle High School. During an interview with NBC News, he admitted that, although he was “confident,” he was nevertheless taken aback by the news of his victory:
“I was overjoyed! When I won, I had the most bizarre facial expression! It was a true gift.”
The newly-elected mayor further said that his parents are proud of him and have supported him throughout his journey. Smith will be the mayor of Earle, Arkansas, which has a population of fewer than 2,000 people according to the 2020 census.
Jaylen Smith has already made plans to improve the little town.
Jaylen Smith disclosed to NBC News that he hopes to open a new grocery shop in the neighborhood after the existing one shuttered years ago. When asked about his intentions, he explained:
“Our elderly need transportation to and from West Memphis to acquire meals.” So having a food shop in town would be preferable.”
The 18-year-old campaigned for mayor, vowing to enhance the city’s drainage system, community engagement, and police force, as well as to care for abandoned properties. Jaylen Smith, president of his school’s student government organization, revealed that he chose to run for mayor at the start of his senior year, with the backing of his fellow student government association members.
“It feels incredible, and future generations will read about this momentous occasion.”
During his election campaign, he got advice from Frank Scott Jr., the mayor of Little Rock, an Arkansas city with a population of 200,000, who congratulated the rookie mayor by saying:
“I’m thrilled for Jaylen and the whole Earle community as he becomes the country’s youngest African American mayor.” I admire his courage to embrace public service at such a young age, as well as his lofty ambitions for the city.”
According to The Hill, Smith has a learning problem, but it did not prevent him from running for office, as he stated:
“This impairment does not diminish what I am capable of doing; rather, it pushes me to reach greatness.”
Jaylen Smith will continue to study at Arkansas State University Mid-South while serving as mayor, with the goal of one day becoming a prosecutor. Smith told NBC News that he planned to savor and celebrate the occasion with his friends and family throughout the weekend.