‘Young guns’ jump into public service to give back, winning elected office around the state


Conn. (WTNH) — They may be some of the youngest elected officials in state history.

Abdul Osmanu, 19, is a newly elected Democratic Town Councilor from Hamden. He talked to News 8 on Tuesday: “It was really exciting to win my race first and, for the most part, it felt like a confirmation, an affirmation of the great organizing work we’ve done.”

Osmanu is the first Muslim elected to serve on Hamden’s town council and is currently a college student at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU).

Osmanu and Mariam Khan, also 19, represent the local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America. Khan explained the group’s legislative accomplishments this year.

“Whether it’s right-to-counsel, the end of prison gerrymandering in Connecticut…they’ve had policy victories. And to see that type of framing, that type of organizing…we’re not just organizing on elections or campaigns and in fluctuating cycles. We are doing that work consistently.”

Khan won a seat on the Hamden school board and is currently studying at Yale University.

Their agenda: housing insecurity, climate change, and regionalism.

Age has been a factor but both dismiss the idea they don’t know what they are doing because they are young. Khan explained, “The age comment will come up but in the current situation we need bold creative solutions and we need young people to be involved.”

Around the state, young leaders are emerging and many of them say they got involved because they wanted to help their community even during a pandemic.

In the summer of 2020, News 8 introduced you to Kenneth McClary. He paid for 1,000 door hangers advertising Vote from Home! And knocked on more than 600 doors in Bloomfield to get out the vote.

That enthusiasm may have helped Shamar Mahon. At 23 years old, Mahon is believed to be the youngest person elected to the town council in Bloomfield’s history.

He is one of the Republican Party minority caucus members. He stands for lower taxes and self-sufficiency and is excited to reach across the aisle and support good policies.

In Madison, Democrat Dylan Stella, an 18-year-old write-in candidate won a seat on the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals as an alternate. He recently took the oath of office.

The Secretary of the State’s Office does not track who is the youngest elected official in state history.

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