19-year-old Kalan Haywood set to become Wisconsin’s youngest lawmaker

Kalan Haywood thegrio.com
Photo: Haywood 4 Assembly

Kalan Haywood, 19 years old, just earned the ability to vote a year ago and he still can’t hang out with friends at clubs or drink a beer since the legal age is 21. Yet this young mover and shaker is just a few months shy of becoming the youngest lawmaker in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“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, a Democrat, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Haywood who is readying to be sworn in to the Assembly chambers of the Wisconsin Capitol to represent Milwaukee’s 16th District is also taking college classes at Cardinal Stritch University.

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“My age is my biggest asset,” the second-year business major added.

Lawmakers are normally a lot older than Haywood. In fact, there’s no one younger on record serving in a state Legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“I am not aware of any legislators younger than 20 at the moment, so it is likely that if a 19-year-old was just elected that he would be the youngest state legislator out there,” said John Mahoney, policy specialist at the NCSL’s Center for Legislative Strengthening.

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Haywood won in a five-way primary election in August sans a Republican challenger.

Even though Haywood can’t gamble or even rent a car, he will soon be a decision maker voting on legislation concerning issues he can’t quite benefit from just yet.

First on his agenda, Haywood said he wants to amend a law that mandates high school students to pass a civics exam.  He also wants to also propose that all 18-year-olds are required to register to vote.

“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.

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