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From Pageants to Politics: The Youngest Woman Ever Elected to Virginia's House

State Representative, Va.

1808_WIG Lashrecse Aird 34a
Lashrecse Aird’s mother gave birth to her at 16 years old, but she continued to work hard to accomplish professional and academic goals. Aird says the “grit” her mother -- and grandmother -- instilled in her as a young girl led directly to her success in public office.

Aird’s introduction to politics came through her involvement in pageants while attending Virginia State University. At a university dinner, she met Virginia Delegate Rosalyn Dance, who invited her to apply for an internship with her office. Aird interned with Dance during her sophomore year while also working 12-hour shifts at a local factory for extra money.

During the winter break of Aird’s senior year in college, she gave birth to her first son, but continued school and graduated in 2008. She never lost touch with her mentor, Dance. After college, she went to work for her as a legislative assistant. When Dance successfully ran for the state Senate in 2015, Aird ran to fill her seat. She won, becoming the youngest woman -- at age 28 -- ever elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.

Aird says she identifies with the economic hardships many of her constituents face. “I know their needs. I know their pain,” she says. “I know how to advocate for them because I feel like I basically lived through it.”

Read about the Women in Government program and the rest of the honorees.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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