UNA junior Chassity Martin takes political office

Whoever said young people know nothing about politics must not have met Chassity Martin.

The 20-year-old UNA junior was sworn in as city commissioner in her hometown Collinwood, Tennessee Nov. 10.

Martin became the youngest person ever elected to the council when she claimed victory last week.

“I’ve lived there all my life in the same house, and my dad lived there when he was my age,” Martin said. “I know all the issues, and I think I can really make a difference for the better.”

Martin said she made the decision to run for office based on the influence of friend Jason Rich.

Rich also ran for political office when he was a student at UNA and is now the Wayne County executive.

“When Chassity talks, she’s not just saying the stuff people want to hear,” he said. “The importance of another generation coming in and learning a little bit about the way politics works is they will continue to carry on what’s already been started.”

Martin said the response from the community was supportive throughout her campaign.

“When I ran, everyone in the town was very positive,” she said. “If they hadn’t been, they wouldn’t have elected me.”

When someone questioned her age, she said she replied, “Don’t judge somebody by how many years they have lived — judge them based on what they’ve done with those years.”

Martin is a political science major with a minor in legal studies and says she hopes to practice law in the future.

She said it is important to make sure the city does everything legally, and she can get a jumpstart on her career in her current position.

“My mom has always encouraged me to get civically involved,” she said. “I realize that’s what I like to do, and I feel like it’s something I need to do.”

She recalled going to the polls to vote with her parents Kenny and Sabrina Martin when she was a child.

“Chassity’s always been very ambitious,” Sabrina Martin said. “She’s got lots of achievements, and she can focus on what really needs done in our city and county.”

Sabrina Martin and Rich said Chassity Martin’s former experience prepares her to perform well in her new position.

She has worked for several political candidates, including Congressman Mo Brooks. She is a Wayne County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, a Wayne County Welcome Center employee, Wayne County Republican Women president and the area vice president for the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women.

“She can use her experience to see things from a fresh perspective,” Sabrina Martin said. “Maybe some of the people that have been on the council don’t see some of the things she notices.”

Rich said Chassity Martin’s interest in politics has been evident for several years.

“I’ve known Chassity since she was a child, and she has had an interest in politics since her early teen years,” he said. “I sincerely think she’s going to be fantastic. She has a level head, and she doesn’t bow to any one group. I am convinced we need more young people in politics.”

Chassity Martin said she thinks younger people getting involved in politics is becoming more common.

“People just want to see their taxpayer dollars at work, and I think our generation is more focused on numbers and facts, and we want to be more transparent,” she said. “Local government is what affects

people the most. It’s on a much smaller scale than the other offices, but you’re doing the same thing — just closer to home.”