ABAC sophomore serves as town mayor

Published 8:42 am Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Brooke Huckaby lives a fairly typical college life. The 21-year-old Agricultural Technology Management major attends class, studies hard, and puts hours in at work.

Unlike her classmates, the sophomore at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College has another more unusual role. She is the Mayor of her hometown of Arabi.

“As far as I know I’m the youngest female mayor in United States history, and the youngest mayor in Georgia state history,” Huckaby said.

Huckaby was elected Mayor of Arabi, a small town in Crisp County, when she was just 20 years old and has been serving while attending college full-time. The initial push to run came when someone approached her father about running for the seat.

“He told me he wasn’t going to sign up for it again, and I was like, ‘Well you’re crazy. Why don’t you want to do it?,” she said. “And he looked at me and said, ‘Well Brooke, if you think it’s so great, then why don’t you do it?’ So, when qualifying came around, I just went up to City Hall and put my name on the ballot.”

Campaigning as a young woman in South Georgia wasn’t easy, she said. But she just had to convince people that new ideas weren’t bad ideas.

“I told people I wasn’t coming in to try and make big changes and completely flip everything upside down,” she said. “I just want to continue what we’ve had going and investing in ourselves, and the community really came together and supported me.”

Huckaby does have big plans for her small hometown. She sits on several boards and is involved in the county’s larger political scene, all to make things better for the people who live and work there.

“We’re part of the Propel program, which is aimed at bringing prosperity and economic development to rural cities in Georgia,” she said. “I’m on a board that focuses on youth enrichment and we’re really focusing on illiteracy rates, juvenile crime. We’re in the process of starting a police department and I’m about to get started on the hiring process for that.”

Huckaby said that her professors at ABAC have been very supportive, working with her to make sure she can fulfil her elected duties and her degree requirements.

“All of my professors have been wonderful,” she said. “I haven’t had to miss any tests or due dates for assignments. But if I do need something more flexible because of it, they’ve really worked with me. I’ve got a really good support system.”

Eventually, Huckaby wants to end up in the Governor’s Mansion in Atlanta.

“I really want to go further,” she said. “I want to get high enough in politics where I can influence change, but not high enough to where the politics start to influence me. I feel like at a state level, I’ll still be able to balance everything else in my life too.”

For now though, she’s focused on her town and her studies.

“It’s a tough gig but I enjoy it,” she said. “We’re really trying to target the younger generations in our small communities … let them know that somebody’s there, that somebody cares about them and their future. You’ve got so many people leaving where they were raised because they don’t feel like there’s anything there for them. But nothing’s going to be there unless people try to come back and rejuvenate it and put something into it.

“In my opinion, you don’t have a position to complain about anything if you’re not willing to be part of the change,” she added. “People my age need to realize that the older generations aren’t going to be around forever. If we don’t start now, then when are we going to start?”