Diverse group sworn in to lead Groton City
Groton — Democrat Keith Hedrick was sworn in as Groton City Mayor Monday night along with a diverse group of six councilors, including three black men and a woman. The councilors range in age from 33 to 78.
“I think it’s a historic night,” said Stephen Sheffield, who won re-election. “I can’t recall three councilors of color having been elected (to one council) east of the Connecticut River. Certainly not in Groton. And they’ll make us proud.”
Sheffield, Rashaad Carter and Jamal Beckford are black.
Former Mayor Marian Galbraith swore in the three along with Hedrick and councilors Lawrence Gerrish, Conrad F. Heede and Jill Rusk.
“The diversity of this council represents the diversity of the City of Groton,” Hedrick said.
State Rep. Joe de la Cruz, D-Groton, said he was struck by the age range of the councilors.
“This is a movement,” he said. “Look at the young people on that council. I’m excited.”
“This gives me particular delight, because Jamal is a former student and it just makes me proud,” said Galbraith, before swearing in Beckford. Galbraith is a former teacher in the city.
Deb Patrick was sworn in as city clerk.
The council unanimously elected Gerrish as its deputy mayor. Groton Town Mayor Bruce Flax also attended the ceremony.
A standing-room only crowd of more than 50 people gave Galbraith a standing ovation as she stepped forward to speak for the last time as mayor.
“To all of the mayor and council, the citizen Galbraith is happy to leave the city in your hands,” she said.
“She has laid the foundation of which we will build on for the next two years, the things we will continue to do,” Hedrick said. “We will continue to look at economic development, we will continue to provide services that are important here to the city, and we will continue with fiscal prudence.”
Hedrick’s brother, Derek Hedrick, flew into town from North Carolina to help his brother before the May 1 election. Monday he was there to celebrate. Their late parents were also there, in spirit.
“Both of them would be very proud of his success today,” Derek Hedrick said.
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