John Tyler Hammons

19-Year-Old Becomes Mayor of Oklahoma Town

May 29, 2008 04:11 PM
by Lindsey Chapman
Muskogee, Oklahoma, has elected a college freshman as its new mayor, highlighting the involvement of a younger generation in politics.

30-Second Summary

At 19 years old, John Tyler Hammons is the new mayor of Muskogee, Oklahoma. But he doesn’t consider himself to be out of the ordinary because he is a young political leader. In fact, he calls himself a “super normal” person with a passion for government. 

Hammons is following in the steps of other young leaders accepting the challenge to lead communities around the country.

Michael Sessions was elected mayor of Hillsdale, Michigan, at 18. He said Hammons will face some obstacles as a young mayor and would “be looked at as the outsider and the kid, in some respects.” He urged Hammons to “take on” older people who questioned his abilities.

Putting “new energy” in office is one reason some voters say they’ve supported young candidates. That energy is reappearing in various political forums.

Pollsters and political organizers have noted a renewed interest in politics among younger voters, especially with regard to the 2008 presidential election, reports the Boston Globe. In 2007, the paper cited “an explosion in political activity among youth.”

As for his own youth, Hammons doesn’t see his age as a hindrance to his new responsibilities. “The only thing I have going against me is that I’ve never [been mayor] before,” he said. “But that’s true, even if you’re 50.”

Headline Link: A younger generation in politics

Background: Other young mayors

Historical Context: Youth voting record

Related: Notable presidential ages

Reference: Politics Web Guide


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