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Story Archives: Johnson sworn in as mayor
|Johnson sworn in as mayor|
POLICE CHIEF, COUNCILMEN
ASSUME OFFICE AT CEREMONY
Mayor Jackie Johnson pledged to work to unify Winnsboro as he took the helm of city government Thursday.
"Speaking of the future, it will take all of us working together to go forward and bring brighter days. Local business leaders, parents, the school system, religious leaders and the local city government will all have a role in working together to enhance our city. If we unite and come together unselfishly, we can excel and build beyond our wildest dream. If we fail, then we will remain in the status-quo and that is unacceptable," Johnson told a packed house at the school auditorium after being sworn into office by Winnsboro City Court Judge Ann McIntyre.
Members of the Winnsboro City Council and Winnsboro Police Chief Lester Thomas Jr.
were also sworn into office before Johnson delivered a rousing inaugural address, in which he encouraged residents to invest in their community by "letting their buckets down" to foster economic development and a better life.
"Study all the great social movements and we shall find they were set in motion by men and women who didn't go looking elsewhere for fresh water, but instead, they let their buckets down where they were," he said.
In presenting Winnsboro's first new mayor in 12 years, Franklin Parish Tax Assessor Rod Elrod described him as a faithful friend who has served the public tirelessly as a Franklin Parish police juror for the last 22 years and with a 14-year stint as a police officer in Winnsboro.
Elrod, a former editor of The Franklin Sun, said he didn't always agree with Johnson, but Johnson never allowed disagreements to cloud their friendship.
"I don't know what Jackie will do as mayor, but I know he will work hard. I know it's a big job, but, in my opinion, we have a big man for the job."
Johnson, a Democrat, succeeds the late Mayor Jack Hammons, who passed away March 5 after a brief battle with cancer.
Johnson was elected to office in a March 1 run-off with 57 percent, or 997 votes, of the 1,764 ballots cast.
His Republican opponent, Ken Hill, received 767 votes in the election.
Speaking from the podium on the stage of the school auditorium, Johnson called his inauguration a day of beginnings and optimism.
"Today is a day of dreams being dreamed, hopes being realized and visions coming true," he said.
Johnson said Winnsboro can only reach its potential by putting differences aside and working together.
"As I look to the future, I see the promise of economic prosperity in Winnsboro. I know that alone we can do nothing, but together we can light a flame that will burn brightly throughout the state," he said. "The only thing that can stop us is ourselves, so let's not get caught up in silly politics. Let's not play games with the lives and livelihoods of our citizens. Let's work to bring a brighter day to our city and the surrounding areas. Let's work to make our city be all she can be."
Winnsboro residents who attended the inauguration ceremonies said they were encouraged by what they heard from Johnson.
"I think it was great. He had a lot of interesting things to say and I have never heard it said that way — that we have to put our bucket down. It's very promising," said Kay Nobler.
Leo Wilson said Johnson set the right tone and he expects great things from Winnsbroro's new mayor.
"I think it was a good speech and he said all the right things at the right time," Wilson said.
"I think he believes what he says and everyone is going to have to work together to accomplish his vision."