Jaylen Smith (politician)

Jaylen Smith is an American politician who is the mayor of Earle, Arkansas. At age 18, he became one of the youngest mayors ever elected in the United States.[1][2]

Jaylen Smith
Smith in 2023
Mayor of Earle
Assumed office
January 3, 2023
Preceded byCarolyn Jones
Personal details
Jaylen Smith

2003 or 2004 (age 19–20)
Earle, Arkansas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationEarle High School

Early life and education


Smith graduated from Earle High School in May 2022.[3][4][5][2]



In 2022, running as a Democratic Party candidate, Smith won the election to be the mayor of Earle, Arkansas.[4] He won 235 votes, beating his rival candidate Nemi Matthews, who received 185 votes.[3] He was sworn into office on January 3, 2023.[6] His victory made him the youngest black mayor in US history.[4][7] This also made him one of the youngest mayors of any race in the United States.[8]

Smith's mayoral priorities include improving public safety and transportation, beautification and renewal of underused housing, emergency preparedness,[5] and addressing the food desert in Earle.[9][10] In preparation for his time in public office, Smith was given guidance by Frank Scott Jr., the mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas.[3]

Smith joined President Clinton on stage and was a featured speaker at the 2023 Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting at Vanderbilt University.[11][12]

In April 2023, Smith met with Vice President Kamala Harris.[13]

Awards and honors


Smith received the President’s Award of the Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus at the organization's 2023 King Kennedy Awards.[14]

Electoral history

2022 Earle mayoral election[4]
Candidate Votes %
Jaylen Smith 235 55.95
Nemi Matthews 185 44.05
Total votes 420 100.00

See also



  1. ^ "18-Year-Old College Student Elected Mayor of Arkansas City". US News. Associated Press. December 12, 2022. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Rojas, Rick (January 10, 2023). "An Ailing Arkansas City Elected an 18-Year-Old Mayor to Turn Things Around". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  3. ^ a b c Mizelle, Shawna (December 7, 2022). "Arkansas city elects 18-year-old to be next mayor". CNN. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d Matza, Max (December 8, 2022). "Jaylen Smith: Arkansas elects youngest black mayor in US". BBC News. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  5. ^ a b "'A better chapter': 18-year-old man elected mayor of Arkansas town". Reuters. December 7, 2022. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  6. ^ Hunterg, Marcus (January 1, 2022). "Jaylen Smith, country's youngest black mayor, sworn in". WREG. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  7. ^ Hills, Sophie (February 14, 2023). "Why one Arkansas town has pinned its hopes on a teen mayor". Christian Science Monitor.
  8. ^ Daniels, Cheyanne M. (December 7, 2022). "Arkansas town elects youngest Black mayor in US". The Hill. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  9. ^ "Meet the 18-year-old running for mayor". WKRC-TV. December 3, 2022. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  10. ^ Hale-Shelton, Debra (December 7, 2022). "18-year-old elected mayor of Earle". Arkansas Times. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  11. ^ "President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton to Convene Student Leaders to Drive Action at the 2023 CGI University Meeting at Vanderbilt University March 3-5". Clinton Foundation. February 27, 2023. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  12. ^ President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton convene student leaders to drive action at 2023 CGI University meeting at Vanderbilt March 3–5 MyVU, February 27, 2023
  13. ^ Kamala Harris [@VP] (April 30, 2023). "Last week, I had a chance to speak with Jaylen Smith, the youngest Black mayor in our nation's history at 18 years old. I am inspired every day by young leaders like Mayor Smith. They are our future – and they will shape our nation with their hope and determination" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  14. ^ 2023 King Kennedy Awards Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus