The New Brunswick NDP has a new interim leader and he’s just 21-years-old.
Mackenzie Thomason is a resident of Fredericton, and takes over from Jennifer McKenzie, who stepped down from her position as party leader last month,
McKenzie, who was acclaimed as party leader in August 2017, resigned after party members voted to have a leadership convention to replace her.
Thomason was selected by the party’s riding representatives and executive over the weekend at a party meeting in Miramichi, N.B. He told Global News he was a little surprised at his selection but is confident that his youth will be an asset.
“I’m happy to be doing it and I feel like it’s going to bring not only a different perspective but also bring in some youth,” Thomas said.
“As we know youth tend not to vote and to get engaged at as high a rate as other age groups so I’m hoping that over the next few months I can convince 18 to 24-year-olds they can have a say in the system.”
He will now take the reins of the party until a leadership convention is held, which is slated sometime before the end of August.
The young politician says he’s focused on providing a “consistent face” and “consistent source” of information for the party.
The 21-year-old ran in the riding of New Maryland-Sunbury during the 2018 election. He placed fifth, earning 143 votes behind a packed field of candidates from the Progressive Conservatives, People’s Alliance, Liberal Party, and Green Party.
The NDP did not win any seats during the 2018 election, despite running candidates in all of the 49 ridings.
A bio provided by the NDP party during the election describes Thomason as passionate about health care and education.
WATCH: Coverage of the New Brunswick NDP during the 2018 provincial election
Thomas told Global News that got involved with politics during the 2015 federal election and that he hopes to inspire young, politically interested individuals to aspire for political office.
“I don’t want anyone to think they have to run for leadership or interim leader at 21 but I do want people to consider that and if that is something they are considering than absolutely they can. If they see 21-year-old being an interim leader then they can really think about getting involved and making their voices heard,” he said.
Thomason works for UPS and also delivers newspapers for the Brunswick News.