Independent Candidate Elected First Black Mayor of Colorado Springs

Independent Candidate Elected First Black Mayor of Colorado Springs

On Tuesday night, Yemi Mobolade became the first Black mayor of Colorado Springs after defeating Republican opponent Wayne Williams with over half of the votes.

According to the Associated Press, Mobolade made history as a Black and non-partisan candidate by appealing to voters on both the left and the right. The Nigerian immigrant and entrepreneur centered on issues like hiring more police officers, creating affordable housing, conserving water, and cutting red tape for businesses throughout his campaign.

With his win, he becomes the first person who is not a member of the Republican Party to become mayor since the city started electing mayors 45 years ago, according to The Gazette.

Mobolade believes he represents a growing desire from many not to see politics divided into just two parties but to instead create a democracy that places people’s everyday needs over the desires of special interest groups.

“That same hunger is not only in Colorado Springs but it’s across the country,” he told the Associated Press. Though he has never held public office before, Mobolade has worked for the city government in roles focused on economic development and helping small businesses. Williams, who served as Colorado’s Secretary of State, conceded the race to the victor and called on city council members to work alongside Mobolade in efforts “to continue the progress we’ve been making.”

Colorado Springs is the state’s second-largest city and has become increasingly diverse. The Associated Press estimates that more than one-third of the city’s 491,530 residents are non-white. The only other Black person to come close to Mobolade’s achievement in Colorado Springs was Leon Young, who served as interim mayor after the elected mayor retired early, according to The Gazette. The election results will not be officially finalized until later this month after overseas and military ballots are counted; however, Mobolade’s commanding lead over Williams is expected to hold up.