Youngest Current Lieutenant Governors in the U.S.

10 Youngest Active/Current Lieutenant Governors in the U.S. (2022)

Lieutenant governor is an important role in states politics, as a lieutenant governor is the second-in-command for each state, after the governor. However, not every state has a lieutenant governor. Like governors, every state has a different age requirement for lieutenant governors. For the most part, lieutenant governors’ ages skew a little younger than other positions of high office because the office is often a stepping stone for higher government positions such as governor, or U.S. Congress.

10. Brian Benjamin (December 9, 1976 – Present)

Current Age (As of December 2021): 45 years, 9 days
Start of Term: September 9, 2021
State: New York
Political Party: Democratic

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Brian Benjamin was recently appointed lieutenant governor of New York on September 9, 2021, following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation. Benjamin was selected by Governor Kathy Hocul, who stepped into the position after serving as lieutenant governor of New York since 2014. He is the second Black lieutenant governor in the history of the State of New York.

Before becoming lieutenant governor, Benjamin was serving as a member of the New York State Senate. He was first elected to the New York State Senate in a May 2017 special election. During his Senate tenure, Benjamin served as the senior assistant majority leader of the Senate and as chair of the Senate Committee on Budget and Revenue.

Did You Know?

In 2014, Brian Benjamin appeared in Oprah Winfrey Network’s reality television show Love in the City as a boyfriend of breast-cancer victim and entrepreneur and founder of PinkChoseMe Foundation, Tiffany Denee’ Jones.


9. David Toland (May 4, 1977 – Present)

Current Age (As of December 2021): 44 years, 7 months, 14 days
Start of Term: January 2, 2021
State: Kansas
Political Party: Democratic

David Tolandphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

David Toland is a brand new lieutenant governor, who was sworn in on January 2, 2021 as the 52nd Lieutenant Governor of Kansas. Toland has also been serving as the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce since 2019.

Before being appointed as Kansas Secretary of Commerce by Governor Laura Kelly, Toland worked as President and CEO of a community health-improvement and economic development organization based in Iola, Kansas. Toland previously worked for for the Government of the District of Columbia in the Office of Planning and Economic Development, as well as a real estate services company.

Did You Know?

David Toland was not actually elected to the office of lieutenant governor; he was appointed by Governor Laura Kelly after Lynn Rogers assumed the office as Treasurer of Kansas.


8. Justin Fairfax (February 17, 1979 – Present)

Current Age (As of December 2021): 42 years, 10 months, 1 day
Start of Term: January 13, 2018
State: Virginia
Political Party: Democratic

Justin Fairfaxphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Justin Fairfax has served as the 41st Lieutenant Governor of Virginia since 2018. Fairfax is the second African-American elected statewide in Virginia, following Douglas Wilde. After earning a degree in public policy from Duke University in 2000, Fairfax worked on the staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee for two years. He then earned a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School.

One of Fairfax’s first political jobs was working as a briefing coordinator for Tipper Gore during the 2000 presidential campaign of Al Gore. Fairfax also worked as a staffer for Democratic Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, in his Washington office.

Did You Know?

In 2019, Justin Fairfax came to national attention for the Virginia political crisis, when all three of Virginia’s statewide elected executive officials became engulfed in scandal over the course of one week in February 2019. Fairfax (who had multiple sexual assault allegations raised against him), Governor Ralph Northam, and Attorney General Mark Herring) were consequently the subjects of nation-wide bipartisan calls for resignation or removal from office.


7. Peggy Flanagan (September 22, 1979 – Present)

Current Age (As of December 2021): 42 years, 2 months, 26 days
Start of Term: January 8, 2019
State: Minnesota
Political Party: Democratic

Peggy Flanaganphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Peggy Flanagan is the 50th Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota. Flanagan is a citizen of the White Earth Nation and is the second Native American woman to be elected to statewide executive office in U.S. history after Denise Juneau.

Flanagan has been involved with Minnesota politics since she was in college. She worked for the campaign of Democratic U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone, eventually becoming an organizer for the urban Native American community. In 2004, Flanagan ran for elective office for the first time, winning a seat on the board of Minneapolis Public Schools. Flanagan later served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2015 until she was elected lieutenant governor in 2019.

Did You Know?

As Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota, Peggy Flanagan advocated for the successful 2014 effort to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage.  


6. Will Ainsworth (March 22, 1981 – Present)

Current Age (As of December 2021): 40 years, 8 months, 27 days
Start of Term: January 14, 2019
State: Alabama
Political Party: Republican

Will Ainsworthphoto source: Official Website of Lt. Governor of Alabama

Currently, Will Ainsworth is serving as the 31st Lieutenant Governor of Alabama. Ainsworth was previously a member of the Alabama House of Representatives, but did not run for re-election in 2018 when he decided to run for lieutenant governor.

Before becoming a politician, Ainsworth was a farmer and small business owner. Ainsworth also worked as a youth pastor at Albertville’s Grace Fellowship Church. In addition to serving as lieutenant governor, Ainsworth is the chairman of the Alabama Small Business Commission.

Did You Know?

Will Ainsworth is the co-founder of Dream Ranch and the Tennessee Valley Hunting and Fishing Expo. He also owns Ainsworth Real Estate and Ainsworth Homes.


5. Jacqueline Coleman (June 9, 1982 – Present)

Current Age (As of December 2021): 39 years, 6 months, 9 days
Start of Term: December 10, 2019
State: Kentucky
Political Party: Democratic

Jacqueline Colemanphoto source: Official Website of Lt. Governor of Kentucky

 

Jacqueline Coleman is one of several young women currently serving as a lieutenant governor. Coleman is the 58th Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky under Governor Andy Beshear, who is currently the second youngest sitting U.S. governor. In addition to serving as lieutenant governor, Beshear selected Coleman to be the Secretary of Education and Workforce Development in his cabinet.

Coleman earned a master’s degree in political science from the University of Louisville. After graduating, Coleman worked as a social studies teacher and coached the girls’ basketball team – Coleman played basketball in college. Coleman first attempted to enter politics in 2014 when she ran for a seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives, but she lost. In 2017, Coleman became assistant principal of Nelson County High School, a position she held until she became lieutenant governor.

Did You Know?

In 2013, Jacqueline Coleman founded Lead Kentucky, a nonprofit organization focused on education policy reform.


4. Garlin Gilchrist (September 25, 1982 – Present)

Current Age (As of December 2021): 39 years, 2 months, 23 days
Start of Term: January 1, 2019
State: Michigan
Political Party: Democratic

Garlin Gilchristphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Garlin Gilchrist has been the 64th Lieutenant Governor of Michigan under Governor Gretchen Whitmer since 2019. Together, Gilchrist and Whitmer are one of the youngest governor and lieutenant governor duos. During the 2018 election, Whitmer had selected Gilchrist as her running mate and they defeated the Republican ticket of Bill Schuette and Lisa Posthumus Lyons. Gilchrist is the first African American lieutenant governor in Michigan’s history.

Gilchrist earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degrees in Computer Science and Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan College of Engineering. After graduating, Gilchrist worked for Microsoft for four years as a software engineer. Gilchrist then pivoted toward politics when worked as a community organizer and director of new media for the Center for Community Change, now known as Community Change. He also worked MoveOn.org in Washington, D.C., as national campaign director.

Did You Know?

While working for Microsoft, Garlin Gilchrist helped build SharePoint, a web-based collaborative platform that integrates with Microsoft Office.


3. Adam Gregg (April 26, 1983 – Present)

Current Age (As of December 2021): 38 years, 7 months, 22 days
Start of Term: January 18, 2019
State: Iowa
Political Party: Republican

Adam Greggphoto source: nellis.af.mil

Adam Gregg is currently the youngest Republican lieutenant governor in the U.S. Gregg is serving as the 47th Lieutenant Governor of Iowa under Governor Kim Reynolds. Before being officially sworn in at the beginning of 2019, Gregg served as the acting lieutenant governor, when Reynolds, the previous lieutenant governor, assumed Iowa’s governorship when incumbent Governor Terry Branstad resigned to become United States Ambassador to China.

Gregg studied law at Drake University Law School and conducted legal research for Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady. He had previously interned with the United States Department of Defense, United States Congress, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, during his undergraduate studies. From 2014 to 2017, Gregg served as Public Defender of Iowa.

Did You Know?

In 2014, Adam Gregg ran for Attorney General of Iowa, but lost to the long-time incumbent attorney general, Democrat Tom Miller.  


2. Molly Gray (March 18, 1984 – Present)

Current Age (As of December 2021): 37 years, 9 months
Start of Term: January 7, 2021
State: Vermont
Political Party: Democratic

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Molly Gray is currently the youngest female lieutenant governor and she is serving as the 83rd Lieutenant Governor of Vermont under Governor Phil Scott. Gray is the fourth woman to ever serve as Vermont’s lieutenant governor. This is Gray’s first elected political position, but she has worked in politics since she was in college.

While she was still in college, Gray was an intern Senator Patrick Leahy’s Vermont office. Gray then worked on Peter Welch’s 2006 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives, and became a member of his Congressional staff after he was elected. In 2018, Gray was hired by Vermont Attorney General T. J. Donovan as an assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division. While Gray initially denied speculation that she would run for a seat in Congress, Gray recently announced that she would run for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 election.

Did You Know?

Molly Gray is the daughter of Bob Gray, an Olympic cross-country skier.


1. Mandela Barnes (December 1, 1986 – Present)

Current Age (As of December 2021): 35 years, 16 days
Start of Term: January 7, 2019
State: Wisconsin
Political Party: Democratic

Mandela Barnesphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

 

At the age of 35 years and 16 days, Mandela Barnes is currently the youngest Lieutenant Governor in the United States. Barnes is serving as the 45th Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin, under Governor Tony Evers. In 2018, Barnes won the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor by a landslide and he became the Evers’ running mate. Evers and Barnes went on to win the November 2018 election, defeating incumbent Republicans Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch. With the win, Barnes became Wisconsin’s first African American lieutenant governor.

Prior to becoming lieutenant governor, Barnes was a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from 2013 to 2017. In 2016, Barnes attempted to run for the Wisconsin State Senate, but lost the election. Barnes recently announced that he would run for a seat in the U.S. Senate in the 2022 election.

Did You Know?

Mandela Barnes’ name, which is actually is his middle name, is a tribute to South African anti-apartheid activist and first Black president, Nelson Mandela.

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