Jack Longino, longtime mayor of College Park, loses in runoff election

College Park Mayor Jack Longino lost his bid for a seventh term Tuesday. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM AJC FILE PHOTO

College Park Mayor Jack Longino lost his bid for a seventh term Tuesday. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM AJC FILE PHOTO

Bianca Motley Broom became the first woman and first African American to be elected mayor of College Park on Tuesday, after defeating six-term incumbent Jack Longino in a run-off election.

Motley Broom took 70 percent of the 1,472 votes cast. The 42-year-old said she was “so excited” to be entrusted to lead the city of about 15,000.

“I hope we move from being the hidden gem to the Hope Diamond,” she said. “I’m so filled with promise that we can actually meet that potential now.”

Motley Broom, a mediator, arbitrator and former Fulton County magistrate judge, said she intends to lead by getting more resident input into projects like Airport City, a $1.5 billion proposal that would remake more than 300 acres.

The city recently opened a new arena, and has been planning the Airport City project to bring development and residents to College Park. Motley Broom said she was grateful to Longino for his leadership, but wanted to be more up-front with residents about what was happening in the city.

Longino, 66, did not respond to several phone calls seeking comment.

Orlando Strozier, a College Park resident who voted for Motley Broom after supporting another candidate in the general election, said he supported her vision for the city. Longino had been good for College Park, Strozier said, but he was ready for a leader who would think outside the box.

“College Park should have been thriving,” he said. “It’s time for new blood.”

Strozier is a fan of the new arena and anything that can “drum up interest, change the narrative” of the city, which has a poverty rate of 35%. But he said the current administration “just kind of did what they wanted to do.”

“It wasn’t really a community effort,” he said. “We should have some say.”

Kenneth Jenkins, who voted for Longino, said he hoped Motley Broom was careful as she took over major projects in the city. He said he thought College Park was running smoothly, and hoped that would continue under Motley Broom’s leadership.

“They just wanted somebody new in,” he said of his fellow residents. “We have a lot of division in the city.”

Motley Broom said she hopes to bring a new perspective to city leadership. Nearly 80 percent of the city’s residents are black; Longino is white.

Motley Broom said that she had a lot to learn before she takes over the top elected role, but she’s looking forward to it.

“Voters wanted change, they wanted a new direction,” she said. “I’m incredibly humbled they selected me.”