Mary-Pat Hector, a 19-year-old Spelman College student, could well be on her way to making history if she snags a city council seat in an upcoming election in Stonecrest, Georgia, a small suburb outside of Atlanta, WGCL reports.
If Hector wins the election scheduled for March 21, she will join the ranks as one of the youngest people elected to office in the United States. She’s the youngest woman eligible for office in the state of Georgia.
Seventeen people are running for a city council seat, while three people are running for mayor in the Stonecrest race, CNN reports.
The city is located east of Atlanta and is home to about 50,000 residents. Voters approved the city’s creation in November, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The teen, who serves as Youth Director for the National Action Network in Atlanta, is a resident of the newly formed city and saw an opportunity to bring a fresh take to city governance.
“Now we have the opportunity to do so in the new city of Stonecrest to make sure we can get off to the right start to ensure there is diversity. Not only diversity in gender, but also in age,” Hector said.
On Thursday, the DeKalb County Board of Registrations and Elections ruled Hector would indeed be eligible to run for office, after an opponent challenged Hector’s age as a point of contention. Hector argued that if she was old enough to vote, she should be allowed to run. The board ruled in her favor after they found the city’s charter did not have an age restriction.
Hector said students from across the country have contacted her, inspired by her story. “The fact that young people all over the country saw me running, and knew they could run, too, that was the most meaningful part of it,” Hector said in an interview with CNN.
Hector is focused on preparing for the first debate and plans to juggle her studies with the job if she is elected.