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Black Teen Becomes WI’s Youngest-Ever Legislator While In College

By Victor Trammell and Nomalanga Mhauli-Moses

Photo credits: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

A young black man who is still in his teens has made history beyond imagination by ascending to new heights in the world of politics.

Kaylan Haywood, Jr., (pictured) 19, is the youngest person ever in the U.S. state of Wisconsin to be elected as a member of the State Legislature. Haywood campaigned hard this past summer in a contentious battle with five other Democratic challengers and emerged victorious after a recent election primary.

Since there was no Republican challenger, Haywood will run uncontested in the upcoming General Election. He is scheduled to take office and be sworn in during January 2019. The Cardinal Stritch University student will represent Wisconsin’s 16th district in the city of Milwaukee as a law maker in the State Assembly.

This remarkable young prodigy has been involved with the political field since he was a small boy. His father, Kaylan Haywood, Sr., is a successful real estate developer with strong ties to the community. The younger Haywood began working on former State Assemblyman David Bowen‘s election campaign at the age of 13.

Bowen is a black man and Democrat who championed livable wages for taxpayers. He is now a member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. Haywood Jr. told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper that he is eager to supply his youthful energy and modern ideas to the Wisconsin State Assembly.

“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. But my age is my biggest asset,” said the Assemblyman-elect.

At 19, Haywood is the youngest member of any state-level legislature in the entire U.S. Some historians say he may be the youngest elected state-level law maker in the history of America.

“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 in an interview with the Journal Sentinel. Mahoney is a policy specialist at the NCSL’s Center for Legislative Strengthening.

Haywood has stated that his main focus is to be a staunch state-level advocate for the Milwaukee public school district.

“The state Legislature as a whole — they are missing a young person’s perspective. I want to make sure MPS gets proper funding — I am a proud MPS graduate,” he told the Journal Sentinel.

The state of Wisconsin is slightly over 86 percent white. Blacks only make up a little over six percent of the state’s population. However, blacks are 40 percent of the population in Milwaukee. Collectively, the registered voters in Milwaukee’s 16th district made history by propelling this bright young man to victory.

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