Preparing for school has been the typical summer for Frankie Dakin since graduating from Millington Central High School in 2010.
Last week marked the start of his junior year at Rhodes College. But the summer of 2012 saw Dakin making headlines running for Alderman Position 3 in his hometown of Millington.
And on Aug. 2 with 58.06 percent of the vote, Dakin beat incumbent Don Lowry to become the youngest Alderman in city history at the age of 20.
The former offensive and defensive lineman for the Millington Trojans said it took teamwork and a love for his city to make history.
“Putting yourself out there in the community and realizing that you can make a difference,” he noted as driving factors. “And if there’s a problem in your community and you realize that, it’s your responsibility to act. It’s been a great experience ever since.”
Back in February, Dakin told some of his peers he was thinking about running for Alderman. In March he pulled his petition at the age of 19.
Then with the support of his family, parents Doug and Joyce and stepmother Melissa, Dakin was on his path toward history.
Before he knew it, Dakin had a support staff featuring MCHS graduates Jenna Crain, Shelby Faulkner, Amber Lewis, Kardell Ambrose and Natisha Shannon. Then his classmate Austin Bryeans took the summer off from Vanderbilt to take on the challenge of Dakin’s campaign manager. Dakin’s former teammate and fellow Rhodes student Stanton Brown became the treasurer. With Malina Meesomboon on board handling the administrative duties, Dakin assembled a team to help get his vision out to the residents of Millington.
“They realized coming in, they weren’t going to make a dime of money,” he said. “This is something they were able to start thinking about, addressing problems we’ve seen since we were going to story time at the library. It was before high school. These folks came up in Millington, played sports in Millington.”
With rallies, door-to-door visits and outreach ventures, Dakin was able to make an impact on several potential voters. Dakin’s effort garnered him 1,171 votes and a spot on the Board along side Bethany Huffman, Hank Hawkins, Larry Dagen, Chris Ford, Mike Caruthers and Millington’s first black Alderman Thomas McGhee.
“It’s amazing the community was really able to open its hearts and minds to the candidates this year,” Dakin said. “People say there were a couple of candidates who really made history. I say, ‘No. No candidate made history. The voters of Millington made the history.’
“To see that and so many young people I work with and who want to come back to this community, I think this election had really shown and given them a reason to come back,” he continued. “There are so many people with open minds and open hearts and we’re going to prosper.”
Dakin said working with the leaders in Millington and listening to the residents are keys toward prosperity for Flag City. Before he takes his position on Jan. 1, 2013, Dakin said he will continue working on city of Millington issues.
He has already spoken with residents trying to start fundraising efforts for a skate park. Dakin has even sat down to meet Millington Area Chamber of Commerce President Charles Gulotta.
“I’m here to do what I said I was going to do,” he said. “I’m going to address the problems I told people I was going to address. My age is not going to hold me back.
“I have a voice like anybody else now,” Dakin added. “It’s going to be the voice the people elected me for. It’s going to be my responsibility not to sit in the background. Although I’m 20, I can’t be the little brother on the board.”
Ready to work along side his new set of peers, Dakin said he wants to thank the voters and his supporters for giving him that opportunity and helping him make history.
“It was more of a humbling experience to see that there were so many wheels in motion around me,” he said. “So many people have worked so hard. This was way beyond just Frankie Dakin. The people of Millington were willing and ready to make changes and move forward.
“It just felt like a moment I need to go work, because the people were so willing to do this and make such a historical statement,” Dakin concluded. “They’re willing to move forward and now it’s my responsibility to do everything I can to make that happen.”