Richland County welcomed five newcomers to County Council during a series of swearing-in ceremonies in the Council Chambers on Tuesday.
Derrek Pugh, District 2; Gretchen Barron, District 7; Overture Walker, District 8; Jesica Mackey, District 9; and Cheryl English, District 10, now sit on the 11-member Council.
The new Councilmembers were sworn in during individual ceremonies open to their immediate families and streamed live online, as County facilities remain closed to the public because of the COVID-19 health crisis.
In December, the newly elected Councilmembers participated in an orientation session led by County Administrator Leonardo Brown and department heads to learn more about County operations and the role of County Council. The members also will participate in a Tuesday night Council meeting and the annual Council Retreat later this month.
Below are statements from the newly sworn-in Councilmembers:
Derrek Pugh, District 2: The “Mighty” District 2 holds a special place in my heart. It is an honor to be able to serve my community in a capacity that will provide change for all who live within it. I am humbled and honored to have been chosen by the people. I promise to lead with integrity, transparency and a commitment to excellence.
Gretchen Barron, District 7: “It’s an exciting time in Richland County. It’s time to be bold, innovative and proactive. It’s time to rebuild the trust of the citizens of Richland by focusing on moving the county forward and aligning county resources to foster a vibrant economy that addresses needs of our citizens. I would like to encourage the citizens to remain engaged with Council and to continue to hold us accountable. Today is a great day, but really, tonight seems like a bigger moment, when we actually meet as a council for the first time. Each Councilmember was elected to serve a specific district but together we represent ONE county. Even though our approaches may differ, I’m confident that each County Councilmember is committed to governing with the people in mind through integrity and transparency.”
Overture Walker, District 8: “I’m thankful for the opportunity, grateful to the voters of Richland County, and I’m looking forward to governing … I’m looking forward to working (together) as we try to get the County moving in the right direction and improve the quality of life for all citizens here in Richland County.”
Jesica Mackey, District 9: “I’m honored and excited to serve District 9 and Richland County. I look forward to working with all of my fellow Councilmembers to lead Richland County forward.”
Cheryl English, District 10: “I am excited and look forward to working with my fellow Council Members and the staff at Richland County. I am grateful to the residents of Richland County District 10 for their encouragement and support. I thank God for the opportunity to serve and pray for His continued guidance.”