Jaylen Smith, a high school graduate, has been elected as a mayor of Earle, Arkansas, making him the youngest Black mayor in the United States of America.
The 18-year-old, who recently graduated from Earle High School, will become the major of the small U.S. town come January. He was announced as the winner of the runoff election held in the town last night. Earle is a small town in the United States with a population of about 2,000 people.
According to the results of the elections, Jaylen Smith won the polls after amassing a total of 218 votes. His opponent, Nemi Matthews Sr., managed only 139 votes. An excited Smith made the announcement of his election victory through a Facebook post on Tuesday night, hours after the elections.
“Citizens of Earle, Arkansas, it’s official!! I am your newly elected Mayor of Earle, Arkansas,” Smith posted. “‘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.”
According to a news report, Smith’s focus as mayor will be on improving public safety and transportation, tearing down abandoned houses, and bringing a grocery store to the city.
His opponent at the pools, Nemi Matthews Sr., reacting to the result of the pools, told newsmen that he and the 18-year-old are friends and that their families have known each other for years. He has previously served as street superintendent of Earle for 30 years,
“No animosity, anything, for as me and Jaylen are concerned,” Matthews said. “Everything has been cordial. If I can help him do anything, I’ll do it, and likewise with him.”
According to Smith’s Facebook profile, he’s held various leadership positions throughout middle and high school, including president of his school’s student government association.
“I feel my purpose from God is to advocate for the ones that are scared and afraid to advocate for themselves,” Smith says.
“The ultimate goal is to provide help, love, and care. With that being said, I am a youth leader in my community. With this position, I try to pull young adults into my program/organization and talk them into being leaders of their communities. The reason I do what I do is because I grew up loving, helping, and caring for people that find it difficult to care for themselves. I always tell people, “I believe in you.” This is meaningful to me because not many have heard this. I want everyone to know that you can do any thorn you put your mind to.”
Interestingly, Smith also shares that he is a special education student; at an early age, he said, he was diagnosed with a learning disability.
“This disability does not take away from what I am able to do,” said Smith. “In fact, it motivates me more to achieve greatness. To add, I was embarrassed of taking special education courses, but I had to realize that I cannot help who I am.”
Smith said his learning disability affects his ability to achieve high scores on standardized tests and therefore keeps him from attending prestigious colleges and universities. But, he said, he has a goal to help those around the nation.
“I went to meet with my state representative and my state senator. I have also had the opportunity to sit down and meet with the Governor of the State of Arkansas regarding the State Educational System, Student Voice, state economy, and guidance on what I do to be a mayor and a great political asset,” Smith added.