By Rhea Riley
History making 19-year-old Kalan R. Haywood II joins Faithe Colas to discuss policy, politics and community during his campaign on There’s Always Something Good to Talk About.
The young politician will be running against several other candidates for state representative for Wisconsin’s 16th assembly district.
“There are barriers of employment,” said Haywood on one of his core policies to improve opportunities for maintaining jobs.
The politician stated incarceration, transportation, education and the cost of childcare as limiting factors of employment.
“I don’t feel that anyone should have to get on the bus at 5 o’clock in the morning, ride the bus for an hour and a half, to get to a minimum wage paying job,” said Haywood on increasing transportation systems and the funding for them.
According to Haywood, 63 percent of youth in Milwaukee Public Schools are economically disadvantaged. He also attributed the lack of training and education to prepare our youth reduces their options of employment.
“The cycle of poverty is why we have a lot of issues we have right now in Milwaukee,” said Haywood. “This is how we stop it, we get people educated and we get them employed.”
Haywood began his political career at the age of 13, volunteering on various political campaigns. He later expanded his community participation by joining numerous local organizations. This included serving as chair of the City of Milwaukee’s restorative Justice Advisory Board and two terms as president of the City of Milwaukee’s Youth Council.
Due to his increased political and community involvement, Haywood has noticed the influence his age has on the youth of Milwaukee and that it has become a catalyst to getting them involved.
“There is not a lot of difference between 12 and 19 in numbers, but really in experience in life there is,” said Colas on Haywood’s age and impact.
Haywood referenced an experience where his age helped change the mind of local youth during his campaign. The 12-year-old had been involved in the Professional “Stollie” Riders, an organized group of 12 to 22-year old’s who specialize in professionally stealing cars.
“Because I was 19, he felt comfortable to tell me that,” said Haywood on creating an open dialogue with the child. “He sees me every day doing something positive, he sees someone he can relate to who isn’t too much older than him, running for office trying to make an impact,” said Haywood.
Haywood also addressed how the lack of involvement and change from previous elected officials has led to a loss of hope for consistent voters.
“A lot of people don’t vote because they don’t think it will matter,” said Haywood.
He stressed the importance of voting, stating out of 50,000 residents only 3,500 votes in the primary elections—equaling only six percent.
Haywood hopes his political journey can instill hope back into his community. He stated he wants to remain reliable and wants each voter to hold him accountable to make change.
“We are going to knock on every single door we can and get them engaged, give them hope again,” said Haywood. “Once I win, I’ll now be a leader they can believe in, so they can keep their hope.”
The primary elections will be on Tuesday August 14.