A 19-year-old Spelman College student is making history as the youngest person to run for office in Georgia after the DeKalb Board of Elections allowed her name to be added to the ballot for the new city of Stonecrest’s election for City Council.
Fox 5 Atlanta reports that Mary Pat Hector’s candidacy was challenged by opposing candidate George Turner after questions arose as to whether Hector’s campaign broke a Georgia law that requires candidates to be 21 or older unless a city ordinance states otherwise.
“If we ignore this law, what will we ignore next?” Turner asked the board.
Hector argued that the Stonecrest city charter allowed her to run for office.
“I believe I should have the opportunity and at least the right to run,” Hector said. “You had to follow by those qualifications, which I did, and I became qualified.”
The board of elections ruled in favor of Hector, stating that the new city’s charter only required candidates to be of “voting age.”
Turner said that he was happy the question was answered after the board made its decision.
Hector released the following statement after the board’s decision:
I am honored and thrilled with the decision recognizing my right to run for Stonecrest City Council in DeKalb County, Georgia. Justice was served, and the law prevailed. The board’s decision is a testament to the inclusion of the next generation’s participation in the democratic process. As the youngest woman to be eligible to run for elected office in the history of the State of Georgia, I thank the DeKalb County Board of Registration and Elections and those who stand with me and support my candidacy and those who taught me and mentored me throughout my life. I look forward to continuing my campaign and serving as the first council member for the fourth district of the city of Stonecrest.
Hector has already gained some experience working in the political arena; she worked with the Obama administration to advocate for criminal-justice reform, and she worked with the Cities United organization to focus on safety issues in minority communities.
Hector joins other young people who have decided to run for office in order to create change where they live. As previously reported on The Root, 22-year-old Michigan State University student Myya D. Jones is running for mayor of Detroit.
Read more at Fox 5 Atlanta.