A small city in Arkansas has just sworn in the youngest active mayor in the United States. At just 18 years old, Jaylen Smith, a freshman in college at Arkansas University Mid- South is now the Mayor of Earle, a small city in the state of Arkansas. On December 6th, 2022, Jaylen won a runoff election against his opponent finishing with 235 votes to 185. His opponent had served as the city's superintendent for the past 30 years. There have been 2 other 18-year-olds to be elected as mayor in American history, however, Jaylen is the youngest Black American to be elected as mayor.
With the support of his twin brother, family, and even the principal of his high school, he began campaigning in January 2022. After being involved in the student government body at school since 7th grade and seeing how much of an impact his role as student body president and the senior class president had on the students and the surrounding community, he decided that he would pursue a career in politics. He stated in an interview that, the City of Earle has so much potential and he wanted to be a part of reviving the city and making it a place where people could be proud to be from and want to come back to. Even though he is only 18, he knows that he has a lot to learn when it comes to leading a city. Before being elected, he decided to shadow mayors in other cities near Earle to see what it was like to be a mayor and what his daily duties and responsibilities would be. He was able to gain a lot of support and mentors that offered him advice and counseling.
Earle, Arkansas is a very small city with less than 2000 residents, but the city is behind in the basic needs of its citizens. Jaylen campaigned on the strength of improving public safety by ensuring a 24-hour police department, bringing a grocery store within city limits, beautifying the city by removing or renovating some of the abandoned properties, increasing public transportation, and improving community involvement. He gained the support of the younger generation of voters by pledging to provide them with opportunities in the city like jobs, activities, and things to do that would improve their quality of life.
His official swearing-in ceremony took place during the first week of January and we look forward to seeing his success leading his city!