Meet the youngest candidate looking to become New Orleans' next Mayor

Hashim Walter is only 22-year-old, but aims to be New Orleans' next mayor.

NEW ORLEANS -- Hashim Walters is building the foundation for his mayoral campaign right where he played with his friends as a child.

"I played baseball right here in Norman Park," Walters said. "I played basketball back here in that court with my friends."

Thursday he shook hands with people in the park, letting those in his Algiers neighborhood know he is setting his sights on City Hall.

Walters believes those critics who believe he is not qualified as a candidate for Mayor should give him a chance.

"Why not run for Mayor?" Walters said, "There was a time where people said, JFK, that he was inexperienced. They didn't think that he was qualified to run for president but for his two years in office, he did a great job."

A graduate of Birmingham Southern College, Walters is the youngest mayoral candidate in this year's election at 22 years old. It is a position, he believes, puts him at an advantage.

"I believe that people are ready for something different. A new style of politics," Walters said.

He is using his youth as a means to get other millennials involved in local government.

"This is just a tool or a stepping stone to encourage more millennials to get involved in the political world here in New Orleans and also nationally as well," Walters said.

Energizing younger voters about city politics is tough, according to the League of Women Voters of New Orleans President Rosalind Cook.

"They don't really get quite as excited. And I'm not saying all youth..but it is a bit harder," Cook said.

Cook's organization provides registration drives for young people, encouraging them to get involved.

"I think they understand that government does play a part in their lives, but they don't get as much exposure to that," Cook said.

It's a base Cook says that every politician should seriously consider if they are hoping to set themselves apart.

"I suggest that the candidates really look at the young people and try to determine what would excited them. What would get them enthused about politics," Cook said.

"The number one thing that my generation can take from this election is that we have a voice and we can help shape this city," Walters said.

Walters says he has always been interested in politics and actually interned at City Hall last year for one of the council members.

Walters said he wants to focus his campaign on affordable housing, public safety, job opportunities and training for people living in the city of New Orleans.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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