by Ricky Riley via blavity.com
At only 19 years old, Kalan Haywood Jr. will be the youngest state legislator in Wisconsin. He may also be the youngest legislator in the nation, according to political experts.
Haywood will represent Milwaukee’s 16th District after a hard-fought primary against five Democratic challengers, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. That battle would be his last. There was no Republican challenger.
“Being young is going to play well with some people, but there will also be people who doubt me because of my age, which is fair — it’s new,” Haywood told the Journal Sentinel. “My age is my biggest asset,” Haywood added.
While he won’t be sworn in until January of 2019, he is likely the youngest person to serve in any state legislature in the nation. The Cardinal Stritch University student has been involved in politics since he was very young. When he was 13, he worked on Democratic Representative David Bowen‘s campaigns learning the tricks of the trade.
Then, Haywood served on the Milwaukee Youth Council at 14 and ultimately was elected president of the council. He spent the majority of his teenage years working and building a political career.
As a newly elected state representative, he wants to improve voting rights and the conditions of people’s lives in his city. “Adding the requirement of registering to vote is very important, especially in my district where we get a very low [voter] turnout compared to a total population,” Haywood said.
His father, real estate developer Kalan Haywood Sr., believes, along with his son, that the state legislature needs young people to generate new ideas. “The state legislature as a whole — they are missing a young person’s perspective,” he said. “I want to make sure MPS (Milwaukee Public Schools) gets proper funding — I am a proud MPS graduate.”