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Meet the 18-year-old college student who just got elected to office in the US

The Republican teenager, who was born in 1996, has become the youngest lawmaker in the US.

Saira Blair
Saira Blair
Image: Elect Saira Blair to House via Facebook

SHE’S TWO YEARS younger than Justin Bieber, Google has existed for almost her entire life, and Bertie Ahern became Taoiseach when she was just thirteen months old.

Teenager Saira Blair, who is a first-year student at university, has become the youngest lawmaker in the US after her election during the week.

The 18-year-old Republican trounced two other candidates to be elected as a state legislator in a district in West Virginia, winning 63% of the vote.

The teenager, who will represent roughly 18,000 people, ran on a conservative economic and social platform. In her election literature, she described her core personal and political beliefs as being pro-life, pro-business, and pro-2nd amendment, which enshrines the right of individuals to keep guns.

Speaking after her election, Blair said her election sent a message that the road to “prosperity and success is rooted in conservative values and principles”.

“When I made the decision to run for public office, I did so because I firmly believe that my generation’s voice, fresh perspective and innovative ideas can help solve some of our state’s most challenging issues,” she said.

Source: Craig Blair/YouTube

Blair, who was born in 1996, is studying economics and Spanish at West Virginia University, and is the daughter of Craig Blair, a state Senator.

In her first televised interview following her election, she told Fox News about how she had run her campaign out of her college dorm room.

She said her biggest focus was on jobs. West Virginia has an unemployment rate of 6.6%, which high numbers of people moving to other areas to find work.

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“I’ve watched too many people my age get their high school and their college education here in the state and then leave because they can’t find a good-paying job,” she said.

Blair also said that while there were many conservatives in her peer group, many were afraid to be open about their views.

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“Our generation typically does tend to be liberal,” she said. “If more conservatives saw that it was ok to stand up for your views and you’re not going to be beat up on social media for it, then I think they will come out.

So I hope that being open [shows] that it’s ok to have the same views as your grandparents. I’m hoping some more young people will stand up for their beliefs.

Although most legislators hold down full-time jobs, Blair has already said that she plans to defer her classes in early 2015 so that she can focus on the job.

The National Conference of State Legislatures, which keeps track of demographics in the US, told NPR that early research indicates that Blair is the youngest elected politician in the country.

Read: Five things we learned from the US midterms > 

Explainer: What is happening with the US mid-term elections? > 

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