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A political newcomer not tied to either the Republican or Democratic party has made history as the first Black mayor elected in Colorado Springs.
Yemi Mobolade rose to power in the conservative stronghold on a platform of breaking the status quote, according to the Gazette. A Nigerian immigrant who came to the United States in 1996, Mobolade said the election results proves voters want a new kind of leadership.
“It’s a new day in our beloved city. Do you believe that?” Mobolade asked the crowd at his watch party. As of Tuesday night, election results from the city clerk showed the mayor-elect with a dominant lead of 57.5% compared to his opponent Wayne Williams, who garnered just 42.5%. In a city that has reliably elected Republican mayors for the last four decades, Mobolade’s surprise victory signals a shift in the local political landscape.
“Colorado Springs will become an inclusive, cultural rich, economically prosperous, safe and vibrant city on a hill that shines brightly,” Mobolade said.
New leadership in Colorado Springs
Mobolade is not the first Black person to sit in the mayor’s chair. Back in 1997, Leon Young was briefly appointed as interim mayor after the early retirement and resignation of Bob Issac, according to the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum.
Yet the voters’ decision to elect Mobolade to the post has sent a shockwave of progressive energy into the normally conservative community.
Refusing to become a member of either the Democratic or Republican parties, Mobolade’s unaffiliated political background likely helped convince voters of his genuine interests in delivering fresh ideas and perspectives for the city.
According to the Colorado Sun, cracks in the conservative wall began to show after Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis came within 4 percentage points of beating his Republican rival in El Paso County, home to the city of Colorado Springs.
“Congratulations to mayor-elect Yemi Mobolade on his victory,” Polis said. “I look forward to working with the mayor elect.”
Mobolade is expected to work on issues he highlighted during his campaign, such as public safety, homelessness, infrastructure, and affordable housing.
“Greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city,” he said.