Saira Blair became the youngest state lawmaker in America by winning a seat in West Virginia’s House of Delegates in the November 4 midterm elections.

“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,” Blair wrote on her official Facebook page after winning.

The 18-year-old college freshman campaigned mostly out of her West Virginia University dorm room, defeating her 44-year-old opponent, attorney Layne Diehl.

Saira Blair placing sign on roadside (© AP Images)
Saira Blair campaigned for political office before she was old enough to vote. (© AP Images)

“I am deeply grateful to my supporters, volunteers, friends and family for their hard work during the campaign,” Blair said on Facebook. “I also want to thank my opponents for running a positive and competitive race.”

Her main opponent, Diehl, praised Blair for giving a positive image to the state.

“I look forward to seeing what her leadership brings to the state of West Virginia,” Diehl said.

There were other firsts in the November 4 elections, but Blair’s win is especially notable because she started her run for office when she was too young to vote. In May, as a 17-year-old, she won the Republican primary. (She turned 18, the legal voting age in the U.S., in July.)

Young Americans like Blair participated in local, state and national campaigns in the lead-up to the midterm elections. If you are poised to lead and want to polish your political skills, check out the American Council of Young Political Leaders program.