Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Brian Zimmerman

In 1983, Brian Zimmerman was elected as the mayor of Crabb, Texas, at the age of 11, setting a record for the United States' youngest mayor. He won by a hefty margin — 23 out of 30 votes — in an "unofficial" election. His campaign promise? To incorporate Crabb to avoid annexation.

While Zimmerman won in a "landslide", he fought an uphill battle to incorporate Crabb. Many inhabitants were afraid that incorporation would lead to higher taxes, but Zimmerman believed that if Crabb were annexed by another city, namely Houston, taxes would be even higher — under incorporation, Crabb would have some control over its taxes.

A referendum to incorporate Crabb was held and failed; ironically, if the measure had succeeded, Texas law would have required Zimmerman to step down, because in that state a person has to be 18 years of age or older to hold the position of mayor. Zimmerman was aware of this but it didn't concern him, as he believed Crabb's independence and its taxes were more important than his job. Despite the failure of the measure and the concerns citizens had about incorporation, Zimmerman later won another term. A 1986 made-for-TV movie, Lone Star Kid, portrayed his mayorship.

While Zimmerman did not achieve incorporation for Crabb, his work helped keep its independence and to this day it remains an unincorporated community. Sadly, Zimmerman died of a heart attack in 1996 at the age of 24; he maintains the record as the United States' youngest mayor.


  1. Interesting story. I never knew that. How did you hear?

    1. I've known about it for a while; I discovered it from this page: