Two Teenagers Make History by Winning Local Elections in Connecticut: 'We Did it!'

Mariam Khan and Abdul Osmanu, both 19 years old, won their respective elections for the Hamden Board of Education and the Hamden Town Council

Abdul Osmanu, Mariam Khan
Abdul Osmanu (left), Mariam Khan. Photo: Facebook (2)

Two teenage college students will soon make history in Connecticut, helping to set policy and make budget decisions in Hamden after winning their elections in the town of 61,000 residents.

Mariam Khan and Abdul Osmanu — both 19 years old — won their elections on Nov. 2 after running on the Democratic ticket.

Osmanu is a junior at Southern Connecticut State University and will serve on the Hamden Town Council, where he will be the first Muslim member of the city's legislative body.

Mariam Khan, a sophomore at Yale University, will serve on the Hamden Board of Education, where she will be its first Muslim and Pakistani member.

"WE DID IT! Here's to continuing the work in community and in solidarity as Hamden's youngest elected official and first Pakistani and Muslim Board of Education member," Khan wrote on Instagram after her victory was announced. "Thank you to all those who donated, volunteered, canvassed, and pollstood for JAM this season. More updates coming soon!"

Both identify as democratic socialists and told Insider they will juggle their new roles with their college studies.

Though young, both teens have been involved in advocacy and community organizing for some time. Osmanu previously ran for a spot on the town's Democratic town committee when he was 17, though he lost that election.

"When I was in my first election, I was three months into being 18," he told Insider. "The first time I voted, my name was on the ballot."

Khan previously served as a student representative on the Hamden Board of Education, telling Insider her interest in running for office stemmed from "the inflammatory rhetoric that came at the national level, but local organizing is really where it's at."

And both previously volunteered for the campaign of Hamden Town Council member Justin Farmer, who won re-election last week — meaning all three will now work alongside one another.

During the campaign, the trio formed what they called the JAM coalition (an acronym of their first initials), which focused on economic development for all community members, infrastructure repairs, and the revitalization of a local community center.

"To be able to run with friends, compatriots and colleagues, what else can I say? I'm blessed," the 27-year-old Farmer told Hamden's Quinnipiac News Network.

Related Articles