Jaylen Smith is barely out of high school, and he’s already made history! The 18-year-old is now reportedly the youngest Black mayor in the United States after residents of a small Arkansas town elected him.
Mayor Smith secured his new role on Tuesday night (Dec. 6). He took down his opponent Nemi Matthews Sr. in a runoff election with a final count of 218 votes to 139, per Fox13 Memphis.
Smith announced the win in a Facebook post–thanking the people of Earle, Arkansas, for their votes.
“Citizens of Earle, Arkansas, it’s official!!! I am your newly elected Mayor of Earle, Arkansas,” Jaylen wrote on Tuesday. “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.”
As of Wednesday, the new mayor’s post had over 300 comments and nearly 700 shares on Facebook. People flooded the post with congratulations on the win. Others offered words of encouragement as Smith steps into this unprecedented chapter.
“I remember when this was just a dream and people thought you were just being unrealistic,” Facebook user Blaine Alexander commented. Now look at you. I’m so proud of you, and I’ll be coming to visit Earle soon.”
“Congratulations and I’m rooting for the success of your administration and the town of Earle!!! So proud of you,” Facebook user Lene Crenshaw commented.
“Soulja Boy can’t say he was the first to do this! Congratulations,” Facebook user Ronel Williams commented.
How Jaylen Smith Became The Youngest Black Mayor
The win is huge, especially considering his opponent’s stacked resume. Nemi Matthews Sr. has been a working citizen in Earle for over four decades, per Fox13 Memphis. His most current role is as the superintendent of the town. Earle is home to less than 2,000 people and is nearly 30 miles from Memphis.
It seems like Mayor Smith wasn’t shying away from his age and generation during his campaign. Just peep the language in his post on election morning, which relied on a lil’ humor to push people to the polls.
He wrote, “call the people that you borrowed money from, call the woman or man you wished you could’ve stayed with.”
On Monday evening, he shared another post–a last-minute reminder of his vision for Earle. That vision includes “building a better chapter” for his town, which means building renovations, beautifying the city, and improving public safety and transportation.
“These are some pictures of the challenges and obstacles Earle, Arkansas has faced for years and its time we move Earle forward. In some of these pictures you see buildings from years ago that are still standing and some that has been destroyed￼ and needs to be renovated,” Jaylen wrote. “When elected as your next Mayor of Earle, Arkansas our focus will be “Building A Better Chapter of Earle, Arkansas.” That means improving our public safety, ￼beautifying the city, abandon houses, new housing, transportation, new businesses, grocery store, water systems, flooding problems, streets, etc. Also implementing ￼police safety plans, ￼fire safety plans, emergency plans for storms such as tornadoes, snow, flooding, fires, shootings, and re-implementing our curfews.”
Well, the people of Earle are on his side–by at least 79 votes over a political vet. Congratulations to Mayor Smith as he embarks on this four-year journey!