IRONDALE, Ala. (WBRC) - It was history in the making in a pair of elections Tuesday in Jefferson County. Irondale elected its first African American mayor and Pleasant Grove put three African Americans on the city council making them the first people of color to serve on the council in the city’s history.
The city leaders understand they did make history but will also tell you that they are ready to represent people of all colors and move their cities forward.
In Irondale James Stewart has been in the city for 30 years. He says he never thought about making history running for mayor. “I never thought about it. I served on the city council. I was the third African American to serve on the city council. I was the first African American to serve as city clerk of the city,” Stewart said.
Stewart fully understands the vote makes him Irondale’s first ever Black mayor but he is quick to point out his win would not have happened if he just got the vote of black voters. “The city of Irondale can show the nation how individuals will look at the quality of the candidate and not the color of their skin,” Stewart said.
Over in Pleasant Grove, the city council will have African American council members for the first time. Three will take office.
“It means the citizens in Pleasant Grove are confident enough in me and the others as candidates,” said Yolanda Lawson, Pleasant Grove City Council-elect.
Lawson said the candidates received support across racial lines. “It sends the message that citizens of Pleasant Grove want leadership that aligns with what the want to see happen in their community,” Lawson said.
Both say they want to see new business come to their cities. COVID 19 has hurt revenues. Both believe they will have a united city behind their efforts.