The city of Jackson made history Tuesday, Jan. 4 when Carlos “Scoot” Duffey was sworn in as the city’s first Black mayor.
Duffey was sworn into office at the scheduled meeting of the Jackson City Council. Surrounded by his parents and his fiancé, Duffey placed his hand on his 90-year-old grandmother’s Bible as Superior Court Judge Bill Fears read the oath.
The meeting room at the Butts County Administration Building was filled with members of the public who literally cheered their support. The meeting location was relocated from the municipal court building in anticipation of a large crowd.
Retiring Mayor Kay Pippin, the city’s first female mayor, called Duffey’s swearing in a historical occasion and tasked Duffey to create a task force to plan a celebration for Jackson’s 200th birthday.
“I cracked the glass ceiling and we put another dent in it with James Morgan as Chief of Police,” she said.
Duffey thanked Pippin for her eight years of service and assured her that he plans to “build on the foundation” she built and move forward.
“We are going to serve with excellence. We are going to give the community what they deserve — a good community, a place that we can call home, a place we can also enjoy safely,” he said.
Quoting Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Duffey asked the Jackson residents present to continue to judge him by his character, not by the color of his skin.
“You, the community, judged me by the content of my character,” said Duffey of his election.
He reminded his mother of his childhood declaration.
“I always told my Mama I was gonna dream big. She never understood what it was going to be about and I didn’t either. Mama, I made it,” he said.
Duffey spoke of his 90-year-old grandmother as “the lady who has seen it all; from crop sharing to segregation to freedom and now her grandson as mayor of the city of Jackson.”
Incumbents council members Lewis Sims (District 2) and Ricky “P-Nut” Johnson (District 3) were also sworn into office. Council member Beth Weaver (District 1) was selected as Mayor Pro-tem.