Greenbelt elects first black city councilman
Two new members join council in historic election
Emmett Jordan received over 1,800 votes in the Greenbelt City Council election, a tally that not only made him the city's first black councilman but also the second highest ranking officialmayor pro tem.
"It's just amazing. It's just a reflection of all the good people in Greenbelt that helped me get to where I am right now," Jordan said. "I'm humbled by the experience."
All five incumbents, as well as Silke Pope and Jordan were elected to the seven-seat Greenbelt City Council Tuesday night. Greenbelt voters were able to cast absentee ballots, use early voting, or vote at one of several locations around the city. The two highest vote-getters are named Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem, respectively.
"Tonight's vote is just tremendous. Emmett Jordan is so qualified and I am looking forward to him being my right-hand man. Or, rather, on the council he's my left-hand man," Mayor Judith Davis said, referring to the council member's place on the dais.
The unofficial results show that 2,399 people voted.
Davis received the most votes, a total of 1,857. The second-highest vote getter was Jordan, with a total of 1,808 votes. Former Mayor Pro Tem Rodney Roberts received 1,709. Edward Putens received 1,678 votes, Konrad Herling received 1,647 votes, Leta Mach received 1,640 votes and Silke Pope received 1,389 votes.
Newcomer Kelly Ivy, who ran in the 2005 and 2007 elections, received 1,192 votes and Che Sayles received 618 votes.
The election numbers will be officially confirmed on Monday when the council members are officially sworn in.
For the past three terms, all five of the former incumbentsDavis, Roberts, Putens, Mach and Herlinghave retained their seats.
In May, the council made an effort to increase the possibility of diversity, stemming from a complaint to the NAACP and an investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union about the lack of minority representation on the council, by increasing the number of council seats from the five to seven, dividing the city into five voting precincts instead of four and adding early voting to the city charter. The voting precinct change splits precinct 13, which previously included Greenbelt East, in order to reduce the lines during voting.
"The unofficial election results show that it was a pretty robust and hard fought contest and I think it shows conclusively that skin color does not impact the prospects of any candidate. It's personal character, personal record and personal views," said Greenbelt resident Andy Carruthers.
Some upcoming issues the new council faces includes construction of the new Greenbelt Middle School, bus route cuts in Greenbelt and whether or not to change the election year from its current odd numbered year to an even-numbered year to coincide with larger elections.
E-mail Jordan Attebury at firstname.lastname@example.org.