Fresh perspective

Girl scout who led push to end child marriage becomes a state lawmaker at age 19

New Hampshire Representative-elect Cassandra Levesque. (Facebook)

When Cassandra Levesque was 17, she led a campaign to end child marriage in New Hampshire that was dismissed by a state legislator who said that it would be absurd to raise the age of marriage from 13 just because “of a request from a minor doing a Girl Scout project.” Levesque, 19, was elected to the state House of Representatives as a Democrat last Tuesday after an election that saw the number of state representatives under age 40 double in a legislature that was once the oldest in the country. As recently as 2015, the average age of a New Hampshire state legislator was 66 years old.

“They have had some trouble trying to get into the mindset of generations after them — it’s a totally different time than when they were my age,” said Levesque, whose “Girl Scout Project” successfully helped push the state’s marriage age to 16 this summer. “Having someone new to help them see different perspective will definitely help.”

Cassie Levesque campaigning against child marriage. (Facebook)

Her remarkable story even caught the attention of Hillary Clinton, who posted about her on Twitter — a moment that left Levesque wowed.

The determined teenager has a packed schedule — she is currently taking online political science courses at Southern New Hampshire University, and still serves as a girl scout leader. Now a legislator herself, she says she intends to lead a push to raise the marriage age up to 18. Her other plans, she said, are intended to refocus the legislature on bills that would benefit the state’s youth — including measures to make college more affordable and encourage young people to find work in the state after college.

Read the full story at The New York Times and The Concord Monitor.

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