During the pandemic, Logan Sizemore began growing food in the family garden to help the community in Leslie County.
“He saw that our local restaurants … were struggling and he wanted to help them,” said Laura Sizemore, Logan’s mother. “That’s just been his mindset; he just wants to make the community better.”
Sizemore was looking into other ways to help his neighbors and, shortly after he turned 16, he discovered he could run for the soil and water conservation board in his home county. Officers on the board keep up with the county’s environmental needs. Logan said it was appealing because of his love for agriculture and land management.
“That kind of stuck out to me because I feel that our area can use some help in those areas,” he said, noting that many parts of Leslie County are beautiful, but some need work. “I want to make someone come look at all parts of our county and say this is one of the most beautiful places in all of Kentucky.”
Sizemore started gathering signatures in the summer, made the ballot and hit the pavement to start talking to voters. Unlike many other candidates for political office, he’s still working on getting a driver’s license, but that didn’t stop him.
“Most people, they already knew me very well, but those who didn’t, I explained to them why I wanted to do this office and how I could make the county better,” said Sizemore.
And the voters responded strongly. Sizemore was the top vote-getter out of the four candidates who ran, according to preliminary results published by the Associated Press.
“It showed that putting in the work that I did paid off,” he said.
His parents said they couldn’t be more thrilled.
“I’m proud of the man he’s turning into,” said Logan’s father, Daniel Sizemore. “We need more people involved like him. A good mindset and determination will take him far.”
Among his top priorities for when he takes office in January, Sizemore said he plans to use the office to help Leslie County start a Future Farmers of America (FFA) program.
FFA provides an immersive hands-on experience in agriculture for students interested in the field and includes student and alumni chapters across the country. Kentucky FFA Executive Secretary Matt Chaliff said there were 20,450 students participating in 173 chapters across the state last year. Only four counties, including Leslie, do not have a FFA program.
“It brings everyone together for meetings and competitions of new ideas to make agriculture and the different parts of agriculture better for the future,” said Sizemore.
Leslie County Schools Assistant Superintendent Daniel Day welcomes Sizemore’s help in getting FFA back in the district.
“Logan has been extremely, extremely motivated about it,” said Day, “and I think this is the next step for him to learn more and to just get everything in line for the school district.”
Day said Sizemore always has shown promise as a student and has carved his own path with everything he does.
“I thought he was the perfect candidate,” Day said, “and I thought the county would get behind him.”
The Secretary of State’s office doesn’t track county-level races, but spokeswoman Michon Lindstrom said, “it is a fair bet to say he is the youngest” person ever elected. Most offices have an age requirement of at least 18, she explained, but soil and water conservation officer is one of the only ones that does not have an age requirement.
Several elected leaders reached out to Sizemore after he won, including Gov. Andy Beshear, who sent him a congratulatory letter.
“Your promise to serve the citizens of Leslie County as a Soil and Water Conservation District Board Member is admirable,” Beshear wrote, “and the hard work and dedication it takes to run a successful campaign are qualities that will serve you throughout your lifetime.”
State Rep. Derek Lewis, who represents Leslie County in the Kentucky House of Representatives, also called Sizemore to congratulate him on the victory, and said he has a bright future ahead of him.
“As Logan was growing up, he always had a strong interest in agriculture and helping others. I look forward to working with him as he puts that interest to work for agriculture and our region,” Lewis said. “It is important for people of all ages to be involved in the governmental process and Logan will be an incredible role model for people his age who want to get involved.”
When the votes were counted and Sizemore came out on top, it meant one of the three incumbents lost his seat. One of the first things Logan did when the results became clear was speak to Eddie Estridge, the odd man out, to congratulate him on the hard-fought campaign.
“And that’s him,” said Laura Sizemore. “I say all the time, he’s like a 50-year-old in a 16-year-old’s body.”
Sizemore said he might consider a future in politics at some point down the line – agriculture commissioner being a particularly enticing office, given his interests – but for now, he’s focused on keeping the land in Leslie County beautiful and encouraging kids to explore agricultural programs.
Of course, Sizemore said he’s also focused on finishing his sophomore year of high school and getting his license so he can drive himself to board meetings.