The 35U began with a vision to inspire the leaders of tomorrow by telling them about the leaders of today. With millions of people involved in government, education, business and community service across the country, it sometimes may be hard for the 35U to connect to leaders individually simply due to an age barrier. The 35U to us is any young adult from the ages of 18-35 in this country. These individuals have a voice – they can vote, serve, and most importantly, they can make a difference for future generations.

Today’s Q&A feature is Jewell Jones, Michigan State Representative for the 11th District, which includes the in Garden City, Inkster as well parts of Dearborn Heights, Livonia, and Westland in Wayne County.

In 2016, At the age of 21, he became the youngest State Representative in Michigan’s history. Jones is focused on improving public education, keeping young talent in Michigan and maintaining strong, vibrant communities.

Jewell is an inspiration to the youth in Michigan that want to get involved in government and public service. We caught up with him to discuss what it means to be a leader and what advice he would give to future leaders.

Why did you choose this career path?

I chose this career path, fairly recently, precisely, on January 12th, 2015. In this capacity, I am able to influence and motivate the next generation of leaders to get involved, as well as bring a youthful perspective to the table in the political arena. Additionally, I am able to be the link between the community and the administration.

Who inspired you to get involved?

People of the community inspired me to get involved. I am the product of this society as a whole. Every time I meet someone and get a chance to learn something new, I take that extra knowledge and get to work.

How do you define a leader?

A leader is someone who is able to motivate and direct others with purpose, further cultivating their leadership capabilities as well.

What projects are you currently involved with in the community that engages the next generation of leaders?

We are working on improving educational and physical/recreational programming in order to provide outlets for our young leaders. We want to make sure we make available the necessary resources that allow our young people access to the next level.

What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders who want to get involved?

Pray, talk to people, and treat them right. Speak it into existence and then get to work. The time is now, you have support. Young people are ready to move and there is plenty of room on this train.