A 19-year-old student at Spelman College has become the youngest woman to ever be approved to run for elected office in Georgia. Mary-Pat Hector was officially cleared to run for a city council in Stonecrest, reports the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
“Justice was served, and the law prevailed,” Hector said in a statement Thursday (Feb. 9). “The board’s decision is a testament to the inclusion of the next generation’s participation in the democratic process.”
Opponent, George Turner, raised questions about Hectors’ city council bid. Turner argued that Georgia law bars anyone younger than 21 from running for an elected position, unless approved by a city ordinance.
But the DeKalb Board of Elections ultimately decided Hector was allowed to run under a new city charter that requires candidates to be of “voting age.”
Hector was“ecstatic” after the board sided in her favor. “This isn’t just for me,” she said. “It’s never just been about me, but more so, other young people.”
The teen’s resume includes working with the anti-gun violence organization Cities United, and working with the Obama administration to advocate for criminal justice reform.
“A lot of people associate age with experience,” she pointed out. “I don’t think that’s something that you should do because that tells young people they can’t, despite the work they’ve been doing in the community.”
Election day in Stonecrest is scheduled for March 21.