America's youngest state legislator is now 18-year-old West Virginian Saira Blair. She's NRA-endorsed, fiscally conservative and, of course, pro-life. Her dad is a state senator.
That's according to the Wall Street Journal. It's bittersweet to see a young woman so self-confidently engaged with the world of politics, knowing that she told Teen Vogue she doesn't even approve of the morning after pill. Here's a summary of her core beliefs, taken from her campaign website:
It's not that she's simply a social conservative stumping for more abortion restrictions while blithely ignoring, say, unemployment. Her website even recognizes that West Virginia has some serious economic problems. She told Teen Vogue that she really hopes to help create jobs and give her fellow young people reasons to stay in West Virginia:
She explains that West Virginians make their way through the public school system and stay in-state for college, incentivized by free tuition for those who earn a high school GPA of at least 3.0 (for the record, Saira graduated with a 4.2). "But then they have to leave because they can't find a good paying job. We raise these children and then they leave, and that's why West Virginia relies on public dependence more than almost any other state."
Unfortunately her website reads a little naive:
Lower taxes, limited government and a fair, predictable court will encourage economic growth which equates to more good paying jobs. West Virginians deserve better! Enacting sound economic principles will solve virtually all of West Virginia's socioeconomic woes.
Virtually all? Even Milton Friedman would call that optimistic. (Perhaps here's a good place to note that she's been endorsed by the Patriot Coal Action Committee and the Arch Coal PAC. She's also in favor of voter ID laws.) Normally I'd simply roll my eyes at a clueless college freshman and hope life'll teach her, but she's not an anonymous 18-year-old. She's a public elected official. The Wall Street Journal reports that her Democrat opponent, by contrast, campaigned on education and dealing with the state's drug problem.
It looks like Blair is another candidate swept into office thanks to the fact that it is rough out there for an incumbent. As the Washington Post notes, she unseated a one-time lobbyist seeking his third term in the Republican primary. He told the Herald Mail that his "maturity" was an asset and "I know how the system works." But given that GOP primaries are essentially contests for the reddest, most down-home, tax-cutting-est candidate—preferably somebody who's never so much as taken a field trip to the capital building—it's not quite so shocking that voters went for someone who was, at the time, 17.
Then again, if there's one thing American politicians have proven time and time again, it's that age is no indicator of wisdom.
Image via AP.