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ST. LOUIS – At just 25 years of age, Rasheen Aldridge will take over the large and diverse 78th State Congressional District. It was an open seat after Bruce Franks left the job early.

Aldridge, who ran unopposed, says his colleagues entrusted him with this opportunity. He says going to a county high school gave him a unique perspective.

“Parkway West. That’s what gave me a special lense of going to county school but coming back home to my own community and feeling like an animal in a cage,” he said.

Aldridge grew up in the 78th District, which includes Old North St. Louis, all of downtown, and even Soulard. He says Clayton is a goal of sorts for the city. The annual median income is $90,000 in Clayton but just $15,000 in Aldridge’s neighborhood.

“They have more opportunities than my district does have,” Aldridge said. “And we can have those same opportunities. There is no reason we shouldn’t.”

In 2016, Aldridge ran successfully and became the youngest African-American committee member in the city’s history. He was 22.

Aldridge has worked as an organizer with several local groups and protested in the Ferguson unrest. His work has earned honors.

“I was appointed to Ferguson Commission by the governor and got to meet with then-President Obama to talk about key issues and solutions that can uplift communities like Ferguson,” he said.

Aldridge says he’s extremely proud of his work on raising the minimum wage in Missouri.

“Back in 2013, they called us crazy but now we done passed minimum wage here in the state to $12,” he said. “I’m excited to give some people hope and also pass legislation that will change how underserved communities like mine look.”

Aldridge also says former State Representative Bruce Franks is not only a friend but a valuable mentor.