ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) - An Elizabeth City State University student was crowned victor in the race for city council Tuesday after being previously barred from running.
Montravias King wanted to be a member of the City Council in Elizabeth City, but the Pasquotank County Elections Board voted 2-1 in August barring King from running, because his address at Elizabeth City State University was only temporary.
King argued the Supreme Court ruled students have the right to vote in the city they attend school and was allowed to run for city council. In September, the North Carolina Board of Elections voted unanimously to allow King back on the ballot.
Tuesday, residents in Elizabeth City cast their votes, and King was announced the winner in the 4th Ward. King won the seat with 38.31 percent of the vote.
King spoke only to WAVY.com Wednesday.
"I feel the same as yesterday except my passion for public service is even stronger right about now," he said.
Ironically, King said he thinks Republican efforts to keep him off the ballot actually led to his victory.
"I think people think this is a young man despite being told 'no' took it to another level, and that's the type of leader they want. They don't want to hear 'it can't be done.' We are not going to give up," King said.
After a sit down interview, WAVY's Andy Fox followed King to the Elizabeth City Municipal Center. The 22-year-old, who claims to be the youngest African American elected to a City Council in North Carolina and possibly the nation, greeted City workers.
"I appreciate what you are doing. I look forward to working with you," he told a City worker who seemed somewhat impressed with the greeting.
Earlier in the day, King told WAVY about his priorities.
"Number one priority is economic development. We need jobs. The poverty rate is 22 percent here. We need to not only look at the City, but the region to bring in more jobs," said King.
He also spoke about his hopes.
"To be a motivator for the young people in this City. Too many young people are leaving...in my Ward there are either seniors or college students...there is no in between," King said.
Then, he walked into the Council Chamber where he will officially take his seat Dec. 9.
"I had to fight [to get here]. It is surreal," said King.
King told WAVY.com about Elizabeth City State University, and the jobs recently lost there.
"If Elizabeth City State University declines then the City declines. For example, we just lost 46 jobs at ECSU. That's 46 middle class jobs. They not only work here, they pay taxes here, they live here, they spend here," he said.
Finally, WAVY's Andy Fox asked him if he is more relaxed now that the long campaign has ended. He gave an interesting answer, probably familiar to candidates who have also run.
"I want to keep campaigning. There is a little downer from the high speed election...the pace, the calls, the meetings, raising money, the excitement," said King.
However, King also admitted the experience has taken a toll on him.
"My mom found two gray hairs on my head. I don't want any more of those coming out too soon," King said with a laugh.
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