MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – It’s a story that’s inspiring people across not only Middle Georgia but the nation. A woman of color and a new comer to politics, Mayor-Elect Mary Parham Copelan has changed the course of history in her own home town. But she says the real work is only just beginning.
“First black female mayor in our 200 year history to ever be elected to this office,” said Mayor-Elect Mary Parham Copelan.
It was a race that changed everything we knew about race in Milledgeville.
“This is my first time ever running for an office and to have won such a huge race even by small margin is a huge accomplishment,” Copelan told 41NBC.
But even as the city’s first ever woman of color to hold office, Copelan says she’s a woman of the people–all people.
“Being that I am female, being that I am a mother, being that I am a grandmother, I can relate to everybody on every level on all the different walks of life that I’ve worked in, and it just brings so much joy to be able to reach back and give back,” she said.
A hometown girl turned elected official, Copelan grew up in Milledgeville.
“I’ve seen Milledgeville through many dark times but yet some progressive times, and that’s what inspired me to see the loss of so many jobs here in our city,” she said.
Now 51 years later, and less than 24 hours away from officially becoming the city’s new mayor, she’s ready to face the city’s biggest issues head on.
“One of the top issues that we will be focusing on is the crime here, and I am one of the ones who likes to reach people where they are. I believe everyone here in this city has a common goal and that’s to see that the safety and the welfare of this city come back up to where it used to be,” Copelan added.
She’ll pick up where her predecessor Mayor Gary Thrower left off.
“I’ve been meeting with different department heads. I’ve been meeting with different leaders that have been prepping me,” she said.
With the help of a seasoned city council, she’ll take the next four years to learn and grow along with the city she believes has so much potential.
The swearing in ceremony tomorrow will be held at the steps of city hall at 4:00 pm. They’re encouraging people from all over to join the city of Milledgville in welcoming its newest leader.
For those interested in meeting and talking with Mayor Elect Copelan she’ll hold her official celebration tomorrow after the ceremony at Georgia Military College’s Old Governor’s Mansion on the second floor.