US teen elected mayor of Arkansas city with 1,800 residents

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — An 18-year-old undergraduate in the city of Earle, Arkansas has been elected mayor.

Jaylen Smith, who currently studies at the Arkansas State University Mid-South, now leads the city's 1,800 residents, The Washington Post reported.

Speaking to the portal, Smith, who aspires to be a prosecutor, said his mother could not stop crying upon his election.

He is the second 18-year-old to be elected as a mayor with the first teenager elected in 2005 to lead the Michigan town of Hillsdale.

On what made him contest the position, Smith said he did not want to be 30 or 40 years old to become a mayor.

“You have to start somewhere ― you really do,” he said.

Smith polled 235 votes against his opponent Nemi Matthews Sr., the city’s longtime streets superintendent, who garnered 183 votes.

Smith attributed his win to the city’s young people.

“They wanted to see change,” he said.

Smith said he won voters over on merit and as a proven leader.

He spent three years as president of Earle High School’s student government, during which he negotiated a deal with a new cafeteria vendor.

He ran on a platform of bringing a grocery store to town, beautifying the city and improving transportation and public safety.

He said he wants to help his hometown and doesn’t need to make the half-hour drive to cross the Mississippi River into Memphis to start his career of public service.

“Why should I have to be great somewhere else when I could be great in Earle, Arkansas?” he said.