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Svante Myrick, Ithaca's Youngest-Ever Mayor, Grew Up Homeless

03/01/2012 10:22 am ET | Updated Mar 01, 2012

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Svante Myrick, Ithaca's newly-elected 24-year-old mayor has an incredible story to tell. Not only is he the town's youngest mayor in history, he also surmounted huge odds to get there.

In an interview with NBC News's Kate Snow for Rock Center, Myrick describes periods of growing up homeless -- his family often lived in a car and in shelters. Myrick's father, Jessie, was a crack addict, and his mother, Leslie, worked multiple low-paying jobs to support the family. "(My mother) went above and beyond. She sacrificed everything ... She saved our lives," says Myrick. Leslie currently works at the front desk of a local hotel in upstate New York.

Growing up poor has shaped Myrick's political beliefs -- he supports local food banks and free lunch programs, saying that they were the reason his family got by.

Myrick, who is biracial, says he's been inspired by another biracial politician: Barack Obama. "Well, if this, you know, guy with that name and those ears can do it, then a guy with this name and these ears can do it," Myrick told Snow.

Ultimately, Myrick says that his isn't the story of a single man's triumph. "This is not the story of a self-made man. This is the story of a community that conspired to raise a child. That's the truth," he says.

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