MARION, Ark. — Jaylen Smith, the country’s youngest black elected mayor, was sworn in Sunday morning, and other elected officials gave him words of advice.
It was a standing-room-only crowd Sunday morning, as Crittenden County elected officials were sworn into office just nine hours after the calendar turned from 2022 to 2023.
Family and friends gathered at the Crittenden County Office building to witness Smith, 18, take the historic oath of office.
“It’s amazing how many people come out and support you in this big historical moment,” said Smith.
Aliah Rowe, the National Vice President of the College Democrats from America, says having younger people running for office is exactly what Arkansas needs.
“I think that young people are waking up and seeing that there are real problems in the world that need change. Actually doing something and stepping up to make that change, I think, is real important,” said Row.
Smith said the entire experience is inspiring.
“Other people that want to get into politics, they see me, and I have done it; they want to get into it. Regardless of what other people say, you still have to move forward. Anything you do, positive or negative, people will find something to say,” said Smith.
Mayor Smith will not have to go at it alone. Other mayors sworn in today say they will be there to lend a helping hand or give any advice if he ever needs it.
Marco McClendon, West Memphis Mayor, says Smith should stick to what he knows.
“I will be here anyway I can to offer any advice or anything he may need to reach out to me. That won’t be a problem, especially here, but I want him to stay steadfast in what he believes into making Earle a better city,” said McClendon.
Anthonyville Mayor, Leroy C. Wright Sr., says he hopes someone can guide Smith in the right direction.
“My prayer for him is that he will find someone to work with that has been in politics for a while. [Someoneone] that can lead him and guide him in the right direction because it’s easy to do good, but it is easy to do bad,” said Wright.
Smith plans on taking next semester off from Arkansas State University Mid-South to focus on his new role as mayor.