19-Year-Old Brother Of Sandy Hook Victim Running For Connecticut State Senate

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19-Year-Old Brother Of Sandy Hook Victim Running For Connecticut State Senate

When something as awful as the mass shootings at Sandy Hook happens it's hard to believe that anything good can come out of such a tragedy. When life is so brutally and violently ended, and legislation regarding guns and school security doesn't change, it can be easy to lose hope. But even in the darkest night a little light may fall.

When Jesse Lewis was shot and killed at Sandy Hook his brother J.T. probably felt much the same way: hopeless, alone, and afraid. He started reaching out to others and quickly realized that if he wanted to see real change happen, he would have to do it himself. That's why, at just 19-years-old, J.T. Lewis is running for office. Who is J.T. Lewis?

1. Running For Office 

When Jesse Lewis was killed during the shootings at Sandy Hook, it was a tragedy that transformed the lives of many. It wasn't just the people who were directly injured who were changed, either. J.T. Lewis, 6-year-old Jesse's brother, has been so impacted by what happened to his little brother, that he has actually decided to run for Connecticut State Senate. In addition to Jesse, six staff members and 19 students lost their lives due to the shooting which took place on December 14, 2012. After the shooting, J.T. shared that his mother, Scarlett, called their state senator, Tony Hwang, still a sitting member of the state senate. According to J.T. and his mother, Hwang never so much as called them back.  

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2. A Mother's Love 

In addition to the memory of Jesse, J.T. credits much of his success in life to the support of his single-mother Scarlett. On June 17, 2018 J.T. reached out to her even though it was Father's Day just to tell her how much she meant to him. “Happy Father’s Day! Sometimes the best dad turns out to be your mom," he wrote on Instagram. Together with his mother, J.T. works on reforming current school safety standards to prevent another tragedy like Sandy Hook. In fact, at the Ford's Theatre Gala held in Washington D.C. in June of this year, the President Trump and the First Lady led a standing ovation for Scarlett and J.T. in honor of the hard work they've been doing in local communities. 

3. The Political Rival 

It's not surprising to hear that Senator Tony Hwang reached out to J.T., but that was only after he heard about the young man's announcement that he was running for office. J.T. shared a screenshot of a message he received from Hwang apologizing for dropping the ball. J.T. took it in stride, sharing the post and saying: “Tony actually apologized for ‘dropping the ball’ and not returning our call, but years too late. It’s time to elect someone who would have returned that call.” While it's clear that Hwang hopes to make amends, J.T. doesn't seem to have any intention of taking his name out of the running. Talk about way too little, way too late. 

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4. To Honor Jesse

While it's clear that J.T. takes this race seriously, it doesn't mean that he is no longer working hard to make sure his brother is remembered for being the hero he truly was. “During a meeting with the Vice President, I formally requested that my brother Jesse be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for saving nine of his classmates in the Sandy Hook shooting,” J.T. shared. According to J.T., on the day of the shooting, the gunman came into Jesse's classroom and began firing. It was Jesse who told the others to run and he stayed behind to protect his teacher. The nine students who made their way out of the classroom at Jesse's behest survived because of him. 

5. Political Connections 

Unlike most people his age, J.T. has been involved in the world of politics intensely since the tragic death of his brother. In fact, he's actually had the chance to meet both Barack Obama and Donald Trump! “I’ve had the rare opportunity to meet both Presidents, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Two seemingly polar opposite people,” J.T. wrote. And the things both Presidents had to say about J.T. were touching. President Obama’s exact words were: "I can tell your boy was a hero. I’m sure you weren’t surprised to hear he saved those kids," Obama told J.T.'s mom. Even Trump was said to appear moved when he saw the photo of Jesse that J.T. brought with him. “Both President Trump and President Obama treated me with the utmost respect and class,” said J.T. “More importantly, they honored my brother’s memory. A lesson: Politics only divides us if we allow it to. We are all Americans.”

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6. Alternate Careers

J.T. might be young to be starting his political life, but he certainly has the drive, the connections and the message to win a campaign if that is how he decides that he wants to make a difference. Goodness knows we need someone like him in office, someone who is eager to get guns off the streets. But if J.T. opts out of that lifestyle, he can always move to L.A. The young man has spent time in the city of angels visiting various TV sets. “Just wrapped up my time working on Hawaii Five-0. Really great experience with an awesome cast and crew. Learned a lot," he shared. He also got a chance to work on The Big Bang Theory, another one of his favorite TV shows.

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.