LiberianImmigrant, WilmotCollins Wins 1st BlackMayor In Montana: Joins MelvinCarter (StPaulMC), ViLyles (CharlotteNC) , Others

by Ike Obudulu Posted on November 8th, 2017

Hosuton, Texas, USA: Wilmot Collins, a Liberian Immigrant, was elected mayor of Helena, Montana – the first black Mayor in the History of the State of Montana – in a historic night in which several US cities elected African Americans as mayor for the first time in the just concluded US Elections held on November 7th, with Charlotte, North Carolina electing Vi Lyles as first black female Mayor.

The cities that elected African Americans as mayor for the first time include: St Paul Minnesota, Melvin Carter; Statesboro Georgia, Jonathan McCollar; Georgetown South Carolina, Brendan Barber; Milledgeville Georgia, Mary Parham Copelan; Helena Montana, Wilmot Collins; and Cairo Georgia, Booker Gainor. This list will be updated if any more wins are announced.

Nigeria Circle News cover photo shows Wilmot Collins (right), Vi Lyles (top left) and Melvin Carter (lower left).

Wilmot Collins, a Liberian Immigrant, elected mayor of Helena, Montana!

Wilmot Collins will be Helena’s new mayor, unseating incumbent Jim Smith in a close race Tuesday.

Collins, 54, will be the city’s first new mayor in 16 years after running a long campaign based in progressive principles.

“The people of Helena have spoken, and I am honored to be able to serve them,” Collins said as the night drew to a close. “I intend to work with commissioners, work for the people of Helena and find what is best for this city.”

Collins also sought to praise Smith for his work over the past decade and a half.

“I commend Mayor Smith. He’s done a great job for the city, and I hope to work with him in the future,” Collins said.

At the La Pa Grill on 6th Avenue in downtown Helena, Collins and other members of the self-described “progressive ticket” watched and waited for the results of the 2017 election.

The feeling was festive as Collins received a call from U.S. Sen. Jon Tester congratulating Collins on his victory. Victory cigars were passed around the room at the end of the night as the large crowd of Collins, Heather O’Loughlin and Andres Haladay supporters ate and drank while waiting for the results.

“The first step is to sleep all Wednesday,” Collins said with a laugh. “Then, listen to the people of Helena.”

The city of St. Paul, Minn., has elected its first African American mayor in Melvin Carter

Carter, a former St. Paul city council member, won the mayor’s race after receiving 50.89 percent of the vote, according to WCCO. He will take over for current Mayor Chris Coleman, both of whom are members of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party in Minnesota.

Carter carried several prominent endorsements into the election, including Coleman and Democratic National Committee vice chair Keith Ellison (Minn.).

“With you by my side, I’m ready to get to work,” Carter told his supporters at an event following the election results.
The fourth-generation St. Paul resident ran on a platform centered on issues like police reform, affordable pre-kindergarten education and expanding public transportation throughout the city.

Carter joins several other victors of historic mayoral elections on Tuesday night.

Ravi Bhalla was elected as mayor of Hoboken, N.J., making him New Jersey’s first Sikh mayor in state history.

Charlotte, N.C., also elected its first female African American mayor in Democrat Vi Lyles.

Vi Lyles, a Democratic councilwoman, will be the first black woman to lead Charlotte, N.C

Vi Lyles, a Democratic councilwoman, was elected mayor of Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, local election authorities reported, becoming the first African-American woman to win the office since the city’s incorporation in 1768.

Ms. Lyles defeated Kenny Smith, a Republican, in the race to choose a successor for Mayor Jennifer Roberts, whom Ms. Lyles had defeated in a Democratic primary.

Ms. Roberts had been buffeted, from both the left and the right, for her handling of two issues: the fallout from the fatal police shooting of an African-American man, Keith Lamont Scott, in September 2016; and a debate over which bathrooms transgender people should be able to use in public buildings.

In February 2016, the Charlotte City Council passed a nondiscrimination ordinance — supported by Ms. Lyles and Ms. Roberts — that prompted the Republican-dominated state Legislature to pass a law that required people in publicly owned buildings to use the restroom that corresponded with the gender listed on their birth certificates. The law set off a roaring culture debate across the state, and the Charlotte council eventually rescinded its ordinance as part of an effort to roll back the state law.

The bathroom issue played a role in the election, with a conservative group promulgating ads that attacked Ms. Lyles for supporting a “radical” gay-rights agenda.

Mr. Smith portrayed himself as a figure who could unite a divided city, while Ms. Lyles promised to increase resident involvement in police matters.

Jonathan McCollar makes history: Elected first African-American mayor of Statesboro, GEORGIA

Candidate Jonathan McCollar has won the Statesboro mayoral race, defeating incumbent Jan Moore and candidate John Grotheer.

McCollar becomes the first African-American mayor in Statesboro history. McCollar attended and graduated from Statesboro High School in 1992 and received his bachelors of arts degree in history from Georgia Southern.

This is the second time McCollar has run for mayor after losing in a runoff election that Moore won by only 93 votes.

Mary Parham Copelan will become Milledgeville, Ga.’s first female African-American mayor, beating incumbent Gary Thrower.

Mary Parham-Copelan, a newcomer in the local political arena, upset Milledgeville Mayor Gary L. Thrower in his bid to for re-election in Tuesday’s city election by a total of six votes.

Her victory cast her into the history books, too. Parham-Copelan, who grew up in Milledgeville, becomes the first woman to win election to that office.

“Oh my goodness; oh my goodness,” said Parham-Copelan after she learned that she had won election to the office of mayor on the first floor of the Baldwin County Courthouse in downtown Milledgeville on Tuesday night. “Milledgeville wanted a change and they got out there and worked hard for me and they made this change possible.”

She was humbled by the support that she received from voters in her first-ever run at elected office.

“I am very, very excited and happy and eager to start working for all the people of Milledgeville,” Parham-Copelan told reporters.

27 Year Old Booker Gainor Elected Mayor Of Cairo, Georgia

Gainor beat Hansell Bearden with 738 votes for mayor.

“It feels amazing,” Gainor said. “I don’t even know how to describe it.”

Gainor, who resigned from his job to seek election, said he felt doing so was the “best decision” he made in his life.

Gainor noted he is ready to work with local officials, and stressed the importance of working with everyone on getting “the ball rolling” on revitalizing Cairo.

“Cairo won, not Booker,” he said. “It’s a victory for the city, not me.”

Brendon Barber wins Georgetown, South Carolina mayoral race

Brendon Barber has won the Georgetown mayoral race beating County Council Member Ron Charlton with 60.95% of the votes.

Barber said he is focused on improving the infrastructure of the city.

“We have to go back and look at our electrical grid, which needs updating, we need to look at our water utility system, of course, our roads and bridges here in the city of Georgetown,” Barber said.

Barber wants to form a similar group called the Mayor Advisory Board. He’s also interested in developing the city’s waterfront.

“There’s a unique opportunity on this waterfront… to start here in the core district and create a waterfront that’s unique to the entire grand strand and Lowcountry,” Barber said.

Barber said his experience in the city makes him most qualified for the job.

“I know every department head, I know every employee,” Barber said. “When citizens come to me with a problem, I know exactly who to call.”

Minneapolis City Council Candidate Andrea Jenkins Becomes First openly transgender woman of color elected to public office in US

Minneapolis City Council candidate Andrea Jenkins won her race Tuesday night, becoming the first openly transgender woman of color elected to public office in the United States.

Jenkins was previously a policy aide to the council’s Vice President Elizabeth Glidden, and her campaign priorities included affordable housing and raising the minimum wage, according to The Advocate.

Jenkins ran with an affiliation to the Democratic Party in the officially nonpartisan race, and defeated three other candidates, The Advocate reported.

Her victory followed another historic election result Tuesday night as Virginia House of Delegates candidate Danica Roem (D) defeated incumbent Robert Marshall (R) to become Virginia’s first openly transgender elected official.

Roem’s win in Virginia’s 13th District marks the first election of an openly transgender person in a state legislature.

Marshall, who referred to himself as Virginia’s “chief homophobe,” refused to publicly debate Roem. Ads by Marshall’s campaign also referred to Roem by her birth gender.

LGBTQ advocates hailed Roem’s victory on Tuesday evening, with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) calling it “a clear warning to anti-equality lawmakers across the country.”

Minneapolis has also elected Phillipe Cunningham, a black transgender man to its City Council

Phillipe Cunningham’s victory took longer because of Minneapolis’ instant-runoff voting system. But by Wednesday afternoon, the city announced Cunningham — a 29-year old transgender man who had worked in the mayor’s office — had unseated the seat’s longtime incumbent and current council president, Barb Johnson.

Neither Andrea Jenkins or Phillipe Cunningham made their gender identity a focal point of their campaigns. But Jenkins said their victories will “encourage young transgender people to keep on fighting, to keep on living, because we can be active and productive members of our community.”

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