Shreveport’s First Black Female Mayor is Giving Hope to Others

Ollie Tyler takes the oath for the office of as mayor of Shreveport, La., during the inauguration and installation of the Shreveport City Council on Dec. 27, 2014, at the Shreveport Convention Center. (Photo: Henrietta Wildsmith, The (Shreveport, La.) Times)
Ollie Tyler takes the oath for the office of as mayor of Shreveport, La., during the inauguration and installation of the Shreveport City Council on Dec. 27, 2014, at the Shreveport Convention Center.
(Photo: Henrietta Wildsmith, The (Shreveport, La.) Times)

Vowing to lower crime, increase the city’s reserves and beautify neighborhoods, Ollie Tyler on Saturday became the first black woman to be sworn in as the city’s mayor.

Tyler, a former education administrator who’s never before served as an elected official, was accompanied by her son, Tony Tyler, as she recited a pledge in front of Judge Carl E. Stewart of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Frances Pitman, of the 2nd Circuit, presided over the council members’ oaths.

“I believe in the people of our city,” Tyler told the crowd, “and I embrace our wonderful diversity and tenacious spirit.”

Tyler, 69, spoke of her goals to enhance police presence in high-crime areas, improve infrastructure including sewers and streets, develop “an aggressive budget” to stabilize the city’s finances, attract Fortune 500 companies, and clean up the “major gateways” to Shreveport.

The seven members of the city council — Willie Bradford, Jeff Everson, Oliver Jenkins, Michael Corbin, James Flurry, Stephanie Lynch and Jerry Bowman — also took the oath of office before a crowd of hundreds at the Shreveport Convention Center.

The ceremony, which was attended by many of Shreveport’s public figures including departing mayor Cedric Glover, included an exhortation by outgoing District G councilman Sam Jenkins for the new leaders to “be accessible to your constituents” by speaking to residents in stores, barber shops, churches and restaurants, rather than expecting citizens to visit Government Plaza.

After the inauguration, the city council met for its first session of the new term and elected Everson, representing District B, as its chairman. Lynch, of District F, was chosen as vice-chair, and the long-serving Arthur Thompson was re-elected as clerk of council.

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SOURCE: USA Today / The (Shreveport, La.) Times – Maya Lau

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