The Truth About America's Oldest Mayor

Recently, more and more young people are becoming mayors of cities across the United States. Bloomberg Cities found that the ages of mayors are trending downward, and they are typically more diverse and politically progressive. With more young people getting involved in politics, they are beginning to be represented more in elected office. You've heard of the most famous of them, such as Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elise Stefanik, but there were also several millennial mayors elected in the last election cycle!

While more young people were finding their way into the mayoral offices across the United States, the oldest mayor in American history was running, and winning, elections of his own. In 2017, a 93-year-old World War II veteran named Vito Perillo became the mayor of a small town in New Jersey. He had never run for office before, but that didn't stop him.

His grandson told People, "If anyone's 93-year-old grandfather came to them and said, 'I want to run for mayor,' they would think he was a bit crazy. But they don't know my grandfather."

Vito Perillo's win was an upset

When Vito Perillo ran for mayor in 2017, few had faith he could actually pull off a win at 93 years old with no prior political experience. However, he was able to pull off an upset win. It wasn't an easy task. He told People that he even wore out his shoes walking up and down streets campaigning for the election.

It paid off and Perillo was able to defeat Tinton Falls, New Jersey's long-term mayor. During Gerald M. Turning's time as mayor, he paid out over $1.1 million of whistleblower lawsuits involving the city's local police department (per App).

"I wanted to run because I was upset with some of the things this administration is doing," the new mayor shared. It seems like the town of Tinton Falls was also upset with what the Turning administration was doing, as Perillo received 53% of the vote.

He's running for re-election

After serving his first term as mayor, Vito Perillo is running for re-election. This time, however, several candidates are running against him. While Perillo is determined to keep his position in office, he is facing three candidates who are looking to make changes. When asked what his plan was, Perillo told App, "I want to carry on what we're doing right now. We have a good group of people who work very hard for the borough. We were able to stabilize the tax rate and reduce municipal taxes."

When running for re-election against three other candidates, Perillo will be 97 years old. He does not want to talk about his age, though, he just wants to be a good mayor. "I love my job," he told People. "It keeps me alive."

Even his children have noticed what a positive experience being mayor has been for their father. "Sunday nights, he so looks forward to going to the office," shared his daughter.

Clearly, Perillo is passionate about his job and is proof that age is just a number!