Mr. Mayor, can I get a quote? Sorry, did you say, “Bahhh?” Great, thanks.
If you are anything like me, sometimes you find yourself asking, “What does a mayor do?” because you honestly just forget about mayors very frequently. The answer to that question is, of course, that they oversee a city’s main departments and are responsible for overseeing the future planning and financial decisions of a city.
However, the responsibilities of the mayor vary from city to city based on the local power structure. There are some cities where the mayors don’t do much of anything at all and the title is strictly ceremonial–which is a good thing because, in these cities, the mayor is not a person at all. In these cities, the mayor is (or was) an animal.
Who are some of these animals appointed government officials? How did they get elected to office? What does this have to do with travel? Let me go ahead and answer that last question right away, so that this article does not get thrown in the trash: It is important that you know if a town you are headed to has (or has had) an appointed animal government official in case you’re traveling with, say, a labrador you want to instill with a sense of civic duty.
Now, to answer those first two questions.
A “Republican” brown mule named Boston Curtis was elected precinct committeeman for the city of Milton, Washington, in September of 1938. The whole thing was a trick done by the Democratic mayor at the time, Kenneth Simmons, who was looking to prove a point about voters not knowing who they are voting for. You see, Boston Curtis ran no election campaign and he also did not offer a single platform—this is, of course (in hindsight), because he was a mule, but that did not stop Republican voters from electing him into office. He may have run uncontested, but it still stands that no one cared to check on what species he even was before voting for him—in which case, I tip my hat to you, Mayor Simmons. You proved your point, sir!
These Goats Who Were Related
Nepotism is even a thing in the animal leader realm, apparently, because in 1986, a goat named Clay Henry was elected the mayor of Lajitas, Texas (an unincorporated community where “mayor” is symbolic), and was succeeded by his son, Clay Henry Jr., upon his death in 1992. Mayor Clay Henry Sr. had an intense love for beer, and for some reason, tourists were allowed to feed it to him. This alcoholic goat was known to drink 35 beers a day, and that is one of the most horrible things I’ve personally ever written in a sentence and put on this website before.
The beer-loving trait ceased with the election of Clay Henry III, who actually murdered his father by headbutting him.
It should be noted that Clay Henry Jr. also enjoyed beer. The beer-loving trait ceased with the election of Clay Henry III, who actually murdered his father by headbutting him. This entire situation is bad. Clay Henry III lives at the General Store and Gas because it’s the only actual business in Lajitas.
— House of Rock (@houseorock) November 13, 2013
A Dog that Ran Against a Cat, a Chicken, and a Donkey
In 2016 (that’s right–literally three years ago), a pit bull named Brynneth Pawltro was elected as the mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, after running against a cat, a chicken, and a donkey. Mayor Pawltro took office after a border collie named Lucy Lou gave up the seat in November of 2015. Apparently it’s fine if there is no mayor of the city for almost a year, but that makes sense since it’s also fine if dogs are mayors there. It goes without saying (probably) that the role of mayor in Rabbit Hash is ceremonial position—it costs $1 to vote in the election (which is truly just a fundraiser for the Rabbit Hash General Store) and drinking at the polls in encouraged, as people tend to donate more money when they have been drinking.
A Dog That Ran Against His Girlfriend
A nine-year-old Great Pyrenees named Duke ran against his girlfriend and was elected mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota, a whopping four times. Cormorant’s mayoral seat is, obviously, ceremonial, and residents pay one dollar to vote–the proceeds from this help to fund projects within the township. His duties included being in parades, acting as “an ambassador for the town,” and just kind of hanging out and making sure “everything is runnin’ okay.”
Unfortunately, I am sad to report that Duke passed away in February of this year. He was 13 years old and had retired from being mayor last year to focus on his health, spending his last months with his adopted mother (his owner).
Out of respect, they are leaving his position vacant for now.
Dustin the Turkey Puppet
Okay, I am going to be honest with you, Dustin the Turkey Puppet (a popular Irish television puppet) was not actually elected to office. However, we are giving him honorable mention anyway, given the circumstance of him being The Funniest Thing I’ve Seen In Quite Awhile. Actually, sorry, here’s the thing: He campaigned in two Irish presidential elections, one in which he competed as “Dustin Hoffman” (the actor), as both a first and last name were required to register. He received some support but most of the ballots were said to be spoiled. Apparently, people still write his name in on ballots to this very day.
Dustin the Turkey is a current UNICEF Goodwill ambassador.
A Cat, Last Year
A cat named Sweet Tart was elected as the mayor of Omena, Michigan, in July of 2018. Omena is an unincorporated village with only about 300 people there, and once again, the mayoral position is strictly ceremonial. In fact, the village council elections are now strictly for animal candidates–as long as they are animals that live in Omena. It costs $1 to vote in Omena’s elections, and the money is donated to the city’s historical society. The 2018 election alone raised over $7,000. Other members of the village council include a four-month-year-old puppy named Punkin Anderson Harder (vice mayor), Penny the Chicken (special assistant for fowl affairs), and Harley the Goat (press secretary).
A Goat, THIS Year
In March of 2019 (literally several months ago), the town of Fair Haven, Vermont, elected a three-year-old goat as its mayor. Lincoln, the goat, defeated a Samoyed dog, Sammie, by only three votes. The election, like many of these elections, started out as a fundraiser to replace a school playground, but “turned into a small civic lesson for the children.”
It was reported that the very first thing Lincoln did after being sworn into office was defecate on the ground moments after being sworn in. It has also been reported that the town manager, who came up with this whole idea, was inspired by a town in Michigan that did the exact same thing–this town is presumed to be Omena, Michigan, listed above.
Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery after all, and honestly, the world probably needs more animal mayors at this point in time. Keep ‘em coming, small towns.