Mary-Pat Hector, a sophomore at Spelman College is one fearless 19-year-old—especially since she’s running for city council. As a young child, the Lithonia, Georgia-native has always interested in politics and now she wants to take it the next level.
According to The Undefeated, the teenager recently launched her campaign for a city council seat in Stonecrest, a newly incorporated city in DeKalb County, making her the youngest candidate on a city council ballot in Georgia state history. Her district comprises mostly of African-Americans seniors, but she’s not letting her age stand in the way of her connecting with potential voters.
“So many times, people just think that young people can’t govern — and they can,” Ms. Hector recently told The New York Times. “If you are getting into politics for all the right reasons, you just have to pay attention to your constituents and not be afraid to be the voice for them.”
However, not everyone is ecstatic to see this young #BlackGirlMagic succeed. Last month, one her opponents, George Turner Jr., wrote a letter to Voter Registration and Elections’ director H. Maxine Daniels, questioning whether Hector was even old enough to run for office.
“My research revealed that in order to hold office of commissioner or city council, one must be 21 years of age, unless the charter specifically makes an exception. There is no such exception mentioned in the charter for the city of Stonecrest. Therefore, any candidate who has not attained age of 21 is not qualified to serve on City Council in the city of Stonecrest,” Turner inquired.
However as The Times pointed out, last week, Hector’s Council bid was approved. The county election board officials agreed that there was no minimum-age restriction to run for office.
“She is young, and I am very excited about the fact that a young person has the opportunity to represent her city,” Daniels, stressed.
As we said before, Hector isn’t new to the public service game.
The Undefeated noted that when she was 11-years-old, she organized a sit-in to try to pressure local officials for a new recreation center. In addition, when she turned 15, she founded Youth in Action USA, one of the nation’s fastest-growing nonprofit organizations that mobilizes young people to create social change.
Hector’s resume is pretty impressive as well. She has been mentored by Al Sharpton; she serves as the national youth director for his organization National Action Network (NAN); and she worked as a youth leader for Hillary for America’s Millennial Victory Council. Currently a sophomore at Spelman College, she’s studying political science and comparative women’s studies.
Hector is fully aware that as a young Black woman she has to confront stereotypes, but she still feels that her presence can break down barriers.
“I have never been afraid to take the road less traveled,” Hector said. “A lot of people are not going to agree. The biggest thing is just getting them to see more than just the age, and more about the vision. And the fact that young people can govern.”
Hector has only five weeks left of her campaign and plans to keep knocking on doors to get her face out there and garner up votes.
Good luck Mary-Pat Hector! We’re proud of you!