Amid trays of layered desserts and a standing-room crowd with many metro Atlanta leaders, the airport-adjacent city of College Park got a new mayor Monday.
Bianca Motley Broom defeated six-term mayor Jack Longino in a December runoff, making her the first new leader of College Park and its 15,000 residents in 24 years.
Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton swore in Motley Broom in front of 300 people packing the city auditorium, including Fulton Commission Chairman Robb Pitts, South Fulton Mayor Bill Edwards, Atlanta City Councilman Amir Farokhi, state Democratic legislators Rep. Derrick Jackson and Rep. Debra Bazemore.
A new and an incumbent College Park councilman were also sworn in, but Motley Broom garnered the most applause.
In College Park’s nearly 130-year history, Motley Broom is the first woman and the first African-American person to become mayor. The 42-year-old is a mediator, arbitrator and former Fulton County magistrate judge — but this was her first run for office.
She told the crowd she wants to build “the community we deserve.” She told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution afterward she plans to make that happen through transparency — adding, “we have nothing to hide” — and increasing civic engagement. The city had a 15.5% voter turnout (1,474 ballots cast) for the Dec. 3 runoff between her and Longino.
Longino attended the event Monday and told the AJC that he wishes her the best. When asked about the loss, the 66-year-old businessman: “The citizens wanted a change.”
Al Hillman, owner of repair business on Hawthorne Avenue, agreed. The 63-year-old said he voted for Motley Broom because she can build on Longino’s tenure.
“Sometimes you want to try a new flavor and hope for the best,” he said.
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