Local No. 7, the only bar on Tucker's Main Street, was packed Tuesday night with regulars as well as politicians, business owners, families and even some uniformed boy scouts. The rest of the country might have been talking about the Super Tuesday elections, but the main topic of conversation at the center of this newly-formed city was the local election of one mayor and six city council members.
In the crowd, the candidates were almost indistinguishable from the voters. Tucker citizens from multiple generations greeted one another by name as they awaited the election results.
Honey Van De Kreke, who ran unopposed for a district seat, has lived in Tucker for nearly her entire life. She was one of 16 candidates running for city council.
"My goal is to have a solid foundation for the future council-people who come along ... to have a foundation in place so we are doing it right the first time," she said.
The city of Tucker began the process of incorporation in November, after a vote in which nearly 74 percent of voters voted for cityhood. Tucker's movement to become a city was widely considered to be a reaction to a measure proposing the neighboring city of LaVista Hills, which failed on the November ballot. Before incorporation, Tucker had formally been a census-designated place in unincorporated DeKalb County.
DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester sat with the crowd at a wooden table inside Local No. 7. She said that Mar. 1 was a "great day for Tucker and a great day for DeKalb."
"I think one of the best reform strategies in DeKalb is the cityhood movement," Jester said. "I think that DeKalb is strengthened with the strong, robust cities they have, because they allow smaller units of people to come together and make more localized decisions with their area."
Frank Auman, the winning mayoral candidate, is a local businessman and a leading figure in the Tucker 2015 movement. He said Tucker's new status as a city means they can "put an end to the border wars" about annexation and cityhood maps in DeKalb, but it also means more local control.
"Tucker has been a very successful community for a 120 years without being a city, and that's because the people are very mindful of needing to do things for themselves," Auman said. "And that's what we're going to do as a city. Nobody cares more about our parks and our zoning and our code enforcement, our business development, than our people here."
The next election for Tucker's municipal government will be held in November 2017.