Twenty-year-old Rhodes College junior Franklin "Frankie" Dakin's successful political campaign has captured local and national headlines, including a spot in the USA Today newspaper.
He's preparing to take office in January 2013 As a member of the Millington Board of Alderman after upsetting an incumbent candidate during the Aug. 2 primary.
Backtrack to January. Dakin, then 19, was the youngest person in the audience. But, that didn't prevent the Rhodes College student from feeling the anguish of watching his hometown Millington's city government on the verge of chaos.
"I have faith that the Millington Board of Aldermen are trying to do the right thing," Dakin said in January 2012. "We just need to help them realize that the people want input."
It was on that night when former embattled Millington Mayor Richard Hodges stepped down from his post amid allegations of corruption and gambling all of which still are to be sorted out in a court of law. But, for Dakin the occasion provided him with a reason to step up and take personal responsibility in determining the future of a community that had shown its generosity to he and his family.
"This was a city that I owed a lot to," he said. "When my parents split up, the local church pitched in to help put food on the table for my mom. When I went to college, local civic clubs pitched in and I got some of those scholarships to help pay for the laptop I was studying on before I came over here."
There an unlikely political campaign was launched, with a trio of his former Millington High classmates, now in college. Assuming the vital roles of strategist and treasurer, Dakin's grassroots effort was not only born, but aimed really high.
"We figured if we're going to be labeled the candidate for change then we might run against the longest serving incumbent," he said. "I might as well say it. A lot of people were telling us we didn't have a chance, anyway."
In taking on incumbent Don Lowery, old fashion politics proved effective. Pounding the pavement, from door to door, in the heat of summer found Dakin once again taking advantage of the kindness of others, and soaking up their knowledge.
"It was a great experience for me and my campaign team," he said. "They opened up their homes to us and we got to hear a lot about the Millington history and they really gave me my agenda going forward."
Scoring a solid 58 to 42 victory in August to win the alderman seat, Dakin is preparing to swing into office in January. Now 20, the hunter will become the hunted.
"There's a lot of people that won't trust me in all aspects and that's fine," he said. "Because I'm hungry and we'll make that our agenda is to stay hungry in that aspect, and to continue to spread information better. Let people know that you're there to represent them.
Dakin will be one of three new alderman on the board in Millington in January.
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