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A younger voice coming to Hampton City Council

 

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent
 

 Being a full-time college student and holding down a part-time job simultaneously is not uncommon.

  However, it is highly unlikely that any of Zakery Daniel’s classmates have landed the kind of job he now has.

Hampton councilman-elect Zakery Daniel with his fiancée Lauren Carey and their son Liam.                                  Special photo

  Exactly two-and-a-half years after high school graduation, Daniel won a two-year term on the Hampton City Council by defeating Frederick DeRuvo by a sizeable margin, 220 to 125. He will fill the seat left vacant in early 2013 when Steve Hutchison stepped down to run for mayor after the death of R.W. Coley. (Hutchison lost to Chris Moore last spring, but won the regular mayoral election in November.)

  It is not known for certain whether Daniel will be the youngest elected official in Georgia when he takes office, but he will definitely be close. He was just over a month shy of his 21st birthday on election night.

  A Hampton resident since the age of eight, Daniel currently lives in Lake Hampton off Hwy. 3 on the northern end of the city. He is a 2011 graduate of Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy and will remain a full-time student at Georgia State University in the coming semester.

  On top of juggling his schoolwork and his new municipal duties, Daniel plans to marry Lauren Carey in May. They have a one-year-old son named Liam.

With the support and encouragement of his parents and his fiancé, Daniel made the decision to run in August, just before qualifying, after doing some research into the position. He spoke with a number of friends in the community who also provided support, and cited Katie Queen as a particularly important influence during the race.

  The decision to run was not a reaction to any negativity on the current council, he said.

  “The current council is doing a good job. They are not fighting each other,” said Daniel. “It wasn’t an urgency as far as anyone doing a poor job, but there was an urgency as far as having young voices on the council. Sooner or later, my generation is going to have to take up for themselves.”

  He pointed out that the demographics of the city are a healthy mix of all age groups, as the last statistics he saw show a senior population of around 7 percent.

  “It’s not necessarily an older population, but it’s not a younger one, either,” he said. “It’s mostly working-class people who don’t want to live in Atlanta but want to be able to commute there quickly or to wherever they work.”

  One of his top goals for his first several months in office is to try to streamline the processes involved in starting and operating a business in Hampton.

  For instance, to put a sign outside one’s business requires city and county involvement, which he thinks is unnecessary duplication. He wants to see what areas have such duplication and how it can be improved to make things easier for business people.

  He will undergo standard training in Athens for two days at the end of February, as virtually all elected officials in the state do.

  As he will be the only member of the council in 2014 without previous council experience, he looks forward to working with an experienced group and expects to get considerable help from them as he learns the ropes. He has already met nearly all of the employees at City Hall and is eager to work with them as well.

The council’s inaugural meeting of 2014 is Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at 17 East Main Street. For information about the council and meeting agendas, visit www.cityofhampton-ga.gov.

 

 

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