Smith sworn in as Lima’s mayor


Lima’s 59th mayor sworn into office

By Joe Gilroy - jgilroy@limanews.com



Lima Mayor-elect Sharetta Smith received a standing ovation after she was sworn in to office Monday at Veterans Memorial Civic Center. She becomes the city’s first female mayor and first Black mayor.

Lima Mayor-elect Sharetta Smith received a standing ovation after she was sworn in to office Monday at Veterans Memorial Civic Center. She becomes the city’s first female mayor and first Black mayor.


Richard Parrish | The Lima News

The Rev. Dr. B. Lamont Monford leads the crowd in extending a hand to bless Mayor-elect Sharetta Smith during the benediction at Monday’s mayoral inauguration at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.

The Rev. Dr. B. Lamont Monford leads the crowd in extending a hand to bless Mayor-elect Sharetta Smith during the benediction at Monday’s mayoral inauguration at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.


Richard Parrish | The Lima News

Mayor-elect Sharetta Smith take photos with supporters during Monday’s event at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.


Richard Parrish | The Lima News

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Melody J. Stewart, left, administers the oath of office for Lima mayor to Sharetta Smith during Monday’s event.


Richard Parrish | The Lima News

ONLY ON LIMAOHIO.COM

Read more about the Lima mayoral race and listen to Sharetta Smith’s inaugural address at LimaOhio.com/tag/limamayor.

LIMA — History was made Monday morning in front of a standing room-only audience at the Veterans Memorial Civic Center as Mayor-elect Sharetta Smith took the oath to become the 59th mayor of the city of Lima.

During her inaugural address, Smith pointed to the “trailblazers” who came before her, who she says paved the road for someone like her to become mayor of Lima.

“It’s not lost on me that today is a milestone in our city. I’m the first woman and the first African-American to be sworn into the office of mayor in the 190-year history of the city of Lima, and so I’d like to pay tribute to other firsts Lima history makers,” Smith said.

She acknowledged Furl Williams, Lima’s first Black councilman in 1969 and then the first Black person elected to citywide office, as council president, in 1979. Dorthy Riker was elected in 1973 as the first woman on Lima’s council, while Francis Napier was the first Black woman elected to council. She also thanked Alberta Lee, the first woman elected as an Allen County commissioner.

“My journey to becoming a mayor and, and being in the company of firsts, is an unlikely journey,” Smith said.

Makayla Horner and her daughter Skyler, 7, of Lima, were among the many mother-and-daughter attendees celebrating Smith’s progress.

“Sharetta represents a more equitable future for everyone,” Makayla Horner said. “It’s not only about women or African-Americans she is standing up for there today for. She is standing up there to represent all minorities, genders and classes of people to say, ‘It doesn’t matter what your color is, what your gender is or what your sexual preference is, you can still dream big and make a difference.’ That is what I gave thanks for last Thursday, and that is why we are here celebrating with all of these beautiful people today.

“I am just so grateful to Sharetta Smith for giving me a shining example to point to anytime my little girl says she can’t do something. From here on out, my answer will always be, ‘Oh yeah? Well look at Sharetta Smith.’”

It was a who’s who of Ohio Democrat speakers including Mayor David Berger; state Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson, D-Toledo; Lima City Councilor Peggy Ehora and Dayton Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley all making remarks during the event. Former state Rep. Ben Rose, a Republican from Lima, also spoke.

More than 500 people showed up despite it being a cold Monday morning following a holiday weekend. They had a chance to witness the city’s first female and first Black mayor sworn in. As if the moment wasn’t monumental enough, it was made more memorable when the first Black female Ohio Supreme Court Justice, Melody Stewart, administered Smith’s oath of office to the delight of the crowd.

Smith, who was hired to be Mayor David Berger’s chief of staff in 2016, showered the outgoing mayor with praise and gratitude for taking a chance and the time to prepare her to lead the city.

“Thank you Mayor (David) Berger, my mayor for the next 48 hours, thank you for inviting me to the dance,” Smith said. “For the last 32 years, you led the city with honesty, integrity, brilliance and an unwavering commitment. And for the last four and a half years, your steady mentorship has been accomplished for me personally, and I will forever be grateful to for them.”

Berger’s last day is Tuesday as the longest-serving mayor in Lima’s history. Smith takes over Wednesday.

Smith closed her address by thanking voters for trusting her enough to give her their vote and asking for continued community support. She renewed her promise to always listen and fight for positive change.

“I’m honored to serve, and I ask for your grace,” she said. “I promise to keep listening. Change is here; and as Socrates once said, ‘The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building on the new focus.’’”

Lima Mayor-elect Sharetta Smith received a standing ovation after she was sworn in to office Monday at Veterans Memorial Civic Center. She becomes the city’s first female mayor and first Black mayor.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/11/web1_Smith-004-5.jpgLima Mayor-elect Sharetta Smith received a standing ovation after she was sworn in to office Monday at Veterans Memorial Civic Center. She becomes the city’s first female mayor and first Black mayor. Richard Parrish | The Lima News
The Rev. Dr. B. Lamont Monford leads the crowd in extending a hand to bless Mayor-elect Sharetta Smith during the benediction at Monday’s mayoral inauguration at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/11/web1_Smith-015-3.jpgThe Rev. Dr. B. Lamont Monford leads the crowd in extending a hand to bless Mayor-elect Sharetta Smith during the benediction at Monday’s mayoral inauguration at Veterans Memorial Civic Center. Richard Parrish | The Lima News
Mayor-elect Sharetta Smith take photos with supporters during Monday’s event at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/11/web1_Smith-021-3.jpgMayor-elect Sharetta Smith take photos with supporters during Monday’s event at Veterans Memorial Civic Center. Richard Parrish | The Lima News
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Melody J. Stewart, left, administers the oath of office for Lima mayor to Sharetta Smith during Monday’s event.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/11/web1_Smith-001-3.jpgOhio Supreme Court Justice Melody J. Stewart, left, administers the oath of office for Lima mayor to Sharetta Smith during Monday’s event. Richard Parrish | The Lima News
Lima’s 59th mayor sworn into office

By Joe Gilroy

jgilroy@limanews.com

ONLY ON LIMAOHIO.COM

Read more about the Lima mayoral race and listen to Sharetta Smith’s inaugural address at LimaOhio.com/tag/limamayor.

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