Dec 17, 2013 11:02 AM EST
Jeramey Anderson Is A Tulane University Senior and Mississippi's Youngest Elected Legislator in State History
Jeramey Anderson celebrated his 22nd birthday by being sworn into office.
On Dec. 6, Anderson, a Democrat, became Mississippi's youngest legislator ever when he was officially sworn in to his House of Representatives District 110 seat the same day he turned 22.
"This is one of the greatest experiences I've ever had," Anderson told the Sun Herald.
Anderson is a senior at Tulane University, in New Orleans, La., and will need to focus on finishing his degree as well as his duties to the state. Luckily, his dean at Tulane will allow him to finish his degree with special online courses.
"I'm going to do what needs to be done," said Anderson. "The people of this district come first and I will manage the two."
Anderson's bigger challenge will be making a name for himself in a mostly-Republican State Legislature as a young Democrat. He won his seat with 60 percent of the vote, but he is still far younger and less experienced than his colleagues.
"Everybody has been very receptive to the idea of having someone so young and another mind in the Legislature," he said. "I'm looking forward to the experience and as far as all the representatives I've spoken to, they're looking forward to it as well because it's going to offer a new perspective to a lot of issues that we're facing here in the state."
Dirk Dedeaux had been a nearly identical situation in 1995 when he was elected representative of District 93 at the age of 22. He said Anderson can equate the legislative process to the learning process, saying taking office is similar to taking a college course.
"There's so much you have to become familiar with to be knowledgeable about the system to be able to pass judgment on the issues that are before you," Dedeaux said. "My advice would be to devote a great number of hours to learning the process and learning the subject matter."
Anderson won despite the Democratic Party declaring their support for his opponent, Aneice Lidell. For Anderson, politics has been a passion of his since his sophomore year in high school, the first of three years as class president.
With high school not far behind him, Anderson hopes to address some of the problems he knows to exist in his district's education system.
"We focus too highly on standardized testing," he said. "We teach students to memorize the answers to specific questions and ideas, but what we don't teach them is how is they got those answers. We need to get back to the foundation of understanding why things are what they are. I think it would improve out education system."
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