By Patrick McCreless
Most 22-year-olds spend their time attending college classes and enjoying spring breaks, not working as town mayors. But then again, most 22-year-olds do not own and operate their own businesses either.
“I’ve always been interested in money and how economics work,” said Corey Harbison.
Until recently Harbison, 22, who was sworn in as the mayor of Good Hope on Nov. 3, owned and operated Harbison Grocery. He currently owns and operates a landscaping business, which he began when he was still a teenager.
“My parents had to drive me around to begin with,” Harbison said. “Then I started building it up.”
For the last six months, Harbison has also patrolled the streets of Hanceville as a police officer.
Born and raised in Good Hope, Harbison attended Good Hope High School and graduated in 2004. Harbison said he decided to run for mayor of Good Hope while he was still involved in school government.
“I told my buddies I would run for mayor in 2008,” Harbison said. “They just laughed at me. And I was kind of nervous about running since I am young. But you won’t win if you don’t try.”
Harbison said he conquered people’s conception about his age by simply going out into the community and talking to as many people as possible.
“I just got out and knocked on doors,” he said. “I told them I can learn the position just as good as anybody else.”
Harbison also explained the residents that the town council would help keep him in check.
“My power is with the council ... if I make a young mistake, I’ve got five city council members who can take away that power,” Harbison said. “It’s not all me ... we’ll make all the decisions together.”
Harbison decided to run for mayor because of his love for Good Hope.
“Good Hope has been good to me,” Harbison said. “It’s a good community with good people.”
As mayor, Harbison plans to focus much of his efforts on the town’s sewer system.
“The sewer system in Good Hope is over 20 years old,” Harbison said. “We’re $2 million in debt on the system. I’d like to get that system paid off. But that will be a long-term process. It’ll take more than one term to get it paid off.”
Harbison also plans to lower the town’s business license.
“I want to adjust the business license to be more competitive with Dodge City and Cullman to bring in more business,” Harbison said.
Harbison said he expects to keep his landscaping business and job as a police officer, but not if they conflict with his mayoral position.
“If people put their trust in me enough, if it became a problem, I’d resign from my job and work as a full-time mayor,” he said. “I’m not going to halfway do it.”
‰ Contact Patrick McCreless by e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.
By Patrick McCreless
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