Milledgeville elects first female mayor

Milledgeville elects first black female mayor

It was razor-close, but voters in Milledgeville elected a new mayor Tuesday night. Political newcomer Mary Parham-Copelan beat incumbent Gary Thrower by five votes.

So who is this new face in Milledgeville politics? 

It turns out, a lot of things.

She's driven a school bus, worked as a corrections officer and sold homes for a real estate company. Parham-Copelan is even a pastor. 

The Mayor-Elect says her varied experiences help her connect with voters and her faith helped guide her campaign.

"You can't do anything without the Lord's Prayer, and this is something we quote in our house daily," said Parham-Copelan. "'Father, let Your will be done,' and I believe, in this race, His will was done."

She said her campaign was focused on issues like bringing career opportunities back to Milledgeville, fixing the city's infrastructure issues and increasing public safety. It was a message that resonated with supporters like Lynn Knapp.

"[Parham-Copelan] listened to some of my concerns and seemed to have a genuine interest in what the citizens...what's important to them," said Knapp.

Supporters like Knapp helped Parham-Copelan eke out a five-vote margin to become Milledgeville's first black female mayor. Her campaign manager Quentin T. Howell said the vote made history.

"It shows what can occur when they utilize what so many people fought for, from the Civil War up to civil rights -- and that was the right to vote. And by utilizing that right we get to make a historic change," said Howell.

With that change, a groundbreaking candidate has the chance to leave her mark on the city she's called home for 51 years.

Current mayor Gary Thrower has until Monday afternoon to request a recount. 

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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