Away from politics, Sam Smith says he is like any other young person – he enjoys music festivals, hanging around with friends.
But his professional life is unlike most people his age.
At 22, he is the youngest Conservative Party branch chairman in the country, and has already been shown round Downing Street. Last week he became the youngest councillor on Gedling Borough Council.
Though he was delivering leaflets with his uncle at the age of 13, his parents aren’t overly political, he says – although they did vote for his party.
“My mum is a huge supporter of mine, but she has no interest in politics whatsoever. When I texted her to say I’d got elected she said ‘I’m so proud of you’, and when I got home she said ‘so what does this mean now?’
There were two major events in his younger life which pushed him to become a politician – his school being closed down, and an 18-hour spinal operation at Queen’s Medical Centre.
“In hindsight they were right, shutting my school down, because the level of education was really poor,” he said.
“I went to Gedling School and during my years there the education standards were really low, and the county council took the decision to close the school.
“I created a committee of pupils to work and protest against that, working with some of the teachers there.
“If you get a good education, no matter what background you’re from, that puts you on a pedestal to do well and opens up opportunities to do so.
“If you look back now on the education we were receiving, it was probably the right decision for the council to close the school.
“As you can see now from the amount of housing going up around Gedling they need more secondary school places, so we need to look again at that decision.
“That got me interested in politics locally, and seeing what you could do. That was a massive motivator.”
With his interest in local politics piqued, major surgery on his spine was then to focus his attention on national politics – and the importance of the NHS.
He said: “When I was 16 I had a life changing operation on my spine.
“I was born with a missing vertebrae which created curvature of the spine – scoleosis – and at 16 I underwent an operation which put metal cages in.
“The healthcare I received, and feeling the NHS was safer under a Cosnervative Government, got me interested as well in that.
“So two huge life events – poor education and a life-saving NHS operation got me interested in politics on two levels.
“Then of course you buy your first car and you’re driving down the road and there are pot holes everywhere and that winds you up, and getting involved to change that is something I’ve always been interested in.
“Why spend time getting angry about something you’re not going to change, when you can just get involved and do something about it?
“Because of the poor education, as soon as I was eligible at 18 I joined a local school governing board, because yes I was angry but now I’m getting involved to try and shape that for future generations, because you can use what you’ve learned and your experiences to really help to change things.”
Despite Councillor Smith’s success last week, it was a difficult night for his party in Gedling, losing seven councillors from their 2015 position.
Despite this, he said he was proud of the campaign he had been a part of, and said both Labour and the Conservatives had run positive campaigns in the borough.
“Positive campaigns are always better than blaming each other. It proves both parties are listening to what residents are saying, and trying to do something about it.
“We simply went on the fact of – after 18 months of knocking on doors – this is what you’ve told us your priorities are, and we simply went out and put that in our manifesto and presented that to residents.
“Am I saddened we didn’t get the majority to deliver it? Absolutely. Does it mean our message was wrong? No. Our voters didn’t come out and vote like they normally do, and other people’s did.”
As for his political future? Would he like to be a county councillor one day?
“That is certainly something I will look at closer to the time.”
Would he like to be an MP?
“Definitely something I’m interested in.” Watch this space.
Is it common for someone of his age to be this engaged with politics? Certainly not.
But as the councillor says: “At 13, not many people my age were interested. But now they’re buying houses and paying council tax, they all want to know now.”