Keagan Roberts has captured national attention for winning a seat on the city council of South Berwick, Maine, population 7,500. The reason: Roberts is only 19, making him one of the youngest elected officials in the United States. He also happens to be gay.
“I hope that it doesn’t matter how young you are, it doesn’t matter how you identify, you can do whatever you put your mind to,” he said of his victory to Out magazine. Roberts won election earlier in November and took his seat on the council last week.
Roberts chose to seek political office after growing up with the charms of his small town. Amazingly, he also claims that he didn’t experience much homophobia when he came out in school or around town.
“I really didn’t face too much bullying, at least to my face, which was nice,” he recalls. “I also have a twin brother who’s gay, so that kind of made high school a little bit easier. It’s amazing. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Roberts missed the deadline to have his name on the ballot, so instead, he camped outside the polls on election day and staged a write-in candidacy. He ended up receiving more than 20% of the vote–more than any other candidate.
“There’s a whole demographic that not really being completely spoken for because you don’t really have anyone [my] age speaking,” Roberts said of his decision to run. He hopes to give back to his community through his newly acquired position, and joins a growing number of queer Americans seeking or holding political office ahead of the 2020 election.