Jeramey Anderson, a 22-year-old African American college student, was sworn in Dec. 6 as a member of the Mississippi House, becoming the youngest person in history to be elected to a House seat in the state.
Anderson, a Democrat and senior at Tulane University, defeated Aneice Liddell, the former mayor of Moss Point, Mississippi. Voters in that southern Mississippi town of about 14,000 were selecting a replacement to fill the unexpired term of incumbent House member Billy Broomfield, who left the House to defeat Liddell in a earlier race for Moss Point mayor.
Anderson won a runoff election Nov. 26 with over 61 percent of the vote while Liddell polled less than 40 at percent. The runoff was triggered when none of the five candidates in the Nov. 5 general election won a majority.
Anderson told a WLOX reporter that he believes his social media push provided the edge that got him elected.
“I felt that with that position opening up I felt like my service would be better off in that capacity than in a local position. It goes back to looking at the opportunities that are presented to me and going with that,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post.
The 22-year-old said in an interview with The Sun Herald that he would complete his undergraduate coursework through online classes January through August while the Legislature is in session.
“I’m going to do what needs to be done,” he said. “The people of this district come first, and I will manage the two,” he said of juggling academics and lawmaking.
Anderson said high on his legislative agenda is making sure residents in his district are not “priced out of flood insurance. ” The town was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
He said he also will home in on increasing funding for education and increasing teacher’s pay.
Anderson said, “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 it 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.”
Anderson is a native of Moss Point, Miss. He said his interest in politics was “sparked” after attending a political camp while he was a junior in high school.
“I’ve had contact with several different Republicans locally. And everybody in general is just excited to have a different perspective in the House. I don’t see party lines. I want to do what’s best for my district and do what’s best for this state, before I see an R or a D behind somebody’s name,” said Anderson.