Eighteen-year-old Saira Blair, a freshman at West Virginia University, defeated Layne Diehl, a 44-year-old attorney, in a landslide vote of 63 percent to 30 percent on Nov. 4.
An economics major, Blair will defer her spring semester to fulfill her duties as the youngest elected politician by attending the legislature's 60-day session. She will resume her college studies in the summer and fall.
Blair is also the daughter of West Virginia State Senator Craig Blair. She launched her campaign while studying at Hedgesville High School in Hedgesville, West Virginia. She will represent around 18,000 people.
Blair said that the election results came in while she was having a thank you dinner with family, friends, and campaign volunteers. It was around 9:30 p.m.
"It was really exciting because I had a lot of my family and friends with me," said Blair. She said that seeing her name on the ballot gave her a unique and heartwarming feeling.
Now that the campaign is over, the votes are cast, and election is won, Blair is more than ready to get down to business.
"History has been made tonight in West Virginia, and while I am proud of all that we have accomplished together, it is the future of this state that is now my singular focus," said Blair in her Facebook post.
Blair said that she wants to be her own generation's representative in a political process that has always been left to seasoned and white-haired politicians. She noted how her state had to face more debt and less jobs despite the fact that most elected officials are highly qualified because of their experience.
In Congress, the average age is 57 while in the U.S. Senate, it is 62. Some parts of her campaign focused on the exodus of educated young people out of her state in search for jobs.
"For far too long, West Virginians have been burdened by high unemployment, a sluggish economy, and a government unwilling to listen to the needs of its citizens," said Blair.
Blair added that one of her most pressing goals is to create jobs and transform the state of West Virginia into becoming a right-to-work state. This means that employees will be given the right to decide on joining or supporting a union.
Furthermore, she wants to repeal the Unfair Trade Practice Act which, she believes, is making the gas prices in West Virginia uncompetitive against those in bordering states.