It was a narrow election victory, but Sharon Weston Broome made history on Dec.10 when she became the first Black female mayor-president of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and East Baton Rouge Parish, The Times-Picayune reports.
“Tonight, Baton Rouge made a statement, a statement that we are a city of inclusion,” said Broome, who won 52 percent of the vote in the runoff election. “This is an opportunity to rise from the ashes of the past six months and write a new chapter, a new chapter that we can all be proud of.”
Broome, 60, now faces the daunting challenge of uniting a city in which Black residents are crying out for justice over the police-involved killing of Alton Sterling.
The newspaper said city leaders are bracing for possible protests over a federal decision on whether to charge the two Baton Rouge police officers involved in shooting Sterling. That decision could come within weeks.
Broome, a Chicago native, served in the Louisiana Legislature and the Baton Rouge Metro Council. She replaces Kip Holden, the city’s first African-American mayor, who served 12 years in office.
In addition to the task of healing the city’s racial wounds, Broome vowed to deliver economic development throughout the parish. Her focus, though, would be on stimulating investment in north Baton Rouge, which has a cluster of low-income Black neighborhoods.