By: Krystle Crossman
Mary-Pat Hector wanted to help to give younger people a voice in her city. The Spelman College student knew that there was something that she could do and so she went for it. She registered to be a candidate for a city council position at the next election in Stonecrest, GA where she currently resides. At 19 years old Hector has become the youngest person to be legally eligible to become a city council candidate in Georgia. She still has a few battles to fight in order to run for the spot, but she has cleared her first hurdle with ease.
The rules state that you must be at least 21 years of age in order to run for a position on the city council. The one caveat to this rule is you can be as young as 18 and still be eligible as long as the city has an ordinance that says something different. Lucky for Hector, Stonecrest requires candidates to be of voting age ad no specific age is listed. Her opponent brought up her age and tried to have her disqualified for this reason however Hector fought back. She went before the DeKalb County board and said that she has qualified as a candidate just like her opponent has. The board approved her to become a running candidate in the next city council election.
Hector felt that this was a huge win for young people because she feels that the younger generation is being given the chance to be heard. She said that justice was served and it shows that politics are becoming more inclusive when it comes to elections and who can run in them. She hopes that others will follow her lead and speak up for others in their cities by running for political office positions. Younger people often feel like they are not being heard when they bring ideas and thoughts to the table in politics but with Hector being so young it could change things. She hopes to inspire others to seek political positions that they may not have thought they could be eligible for.
The city council elections are being held on March 21st. Hector says that she is confident that she will be able to remain a focused student while also balancing the responsibilities that a city councilwoman position would hold.