The Parthenon

A West Virginia college student just set the bar for millennials

Caitlin Grimes, Columnist

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This past Election Day was a day of firsts, especially for West Virginia. The state not only went completely red, but elected its first female senator, Shelly Moore Capito. The media just now caught up to another first that all of West Virginia should be interested in. That is the youngest law maker in history was just elected in the panhandle.

Saira Blair is a young millennial we should all be paying attention too. The young woman beat the incumbent delegate when she was only 17 years old and went on to beat her Democrat opponent Layne Diehl 63 to 33 percent. This means she beat an experienced legislator before she could even vote herself.

The freshman West Virginia University student ran her campaign out of her dorm room, and according to the Wall Street Journal, only spent $4,000 on her campaign. Though that is a lot by college budget standards, it is minimal in comparison to some candidates, who spend millions on the campaign trail.

There are many great things that can come from Miss Blair being elected to House of Delegates, especially with many cuts being made to higher education in recent years. One can only hope, that as a fellow college student, she will be the necessary voice for all college students in the great mountain state.

Though many are celebrating the young lawmaker making political history, there are some that are highly critical of her assuming office at such a young age. The second concern being that her father is a state senator and may have pushed her to run for the position to help obtain his own goals.

To the first critique, I would suggest that perhaps what we need in this country is a new perspective from a younger generation. I am all for this young leader walking into the House of Delegates and breaking up the “old country club”. In an age where the internet allows us to learn about every side of every issue, I think in this case, age is merely a number.

To the second critique, many of us have followed in our parents footsteps. The people living within her district evidently thought that she was not only up to par, but competent enough to win by double digits. Alternative motives may become evident as this young legislator gains her own voting record.

I can only hope that Saira Blair will set the bar high for all young, inspired lawmakers that will follow behind her. She has a lot of work to do but our generation will be watching and waiting to see what great things this leader will do not only for West Virginia, but for all millennials.

Caitlin Grimes can be contacted at [email protected]

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