UPDATE: Amy Goodwin sworn in as first female mayor in Charleston
Amy Goodwin made history Monday as she was sworn in as the first female mayor in Charleston. Meanwhile, Danny Jones said goodbye to his 16-year tenure, the longest in the city's history.
"It's exciting. It's a daunting task ahead of us, but I'm really encouraged with the energy and excitement that we have right now in Charleston," Goodwin said.
The night began with the former City Council beginning their meeting. Then, Danny Jones and his team left as Goodwin and her team took their spots.
Goodwin was sworn in by her father-in-law. Former Gov. Bob Wise watched as his former employee took her oath. Goodwin served as communications director under two governors, including Wise.
Goodwin said she knocked on more than 11,000 doors during her campaign, but she is ready to hit the ground running.
"There are a couple things that we'll tackle immediately," she said. "That's the budget, of course, public safety, no question about it. We're also going to be talking about the vitality of our city and the vibrancy of our city."
Goodwin got to work after the meeting, meeting with committee chairs. Her chief of staff Matthew Sutton said Goodwin's first day will consist of meet-and-greets with city employees.
Women candidates in Tuesday night's election are breaking records nationally and locally. Ninety-eight women have won seats in the House, breaking the current session's record at 84 women.
Locally, Democrat Amy Goodwin will become Charleston's first ever female mayor.
"In Charleston, we have shattered another glass ceiling, and I am honored to have helped make that happen for future women that will run for office," Goodwin said.
Goodwin has spent her career in communications, policy and research. Her experience is why she believes voters picked her.
She doesn't take office until January, but says the work starts now.
"I said last night, the real work starts today, well it actually starts today. So at 7:30 a.m. we were up this morning meeting with some members of our team, and now we are starting to build our transition team."
A team of local and national experts will start working on her plan for the first 100 days in office, flushing out old policy and making room for new ones.
"What our administration will do is work for the best interest of every single person in this city, whether they voted for us or not," Goodwin said.
Goodwin, who takes office Jan. 8, says her first few days in office will be focused on analyzing the city's budget.
The city of Charleston has a new mayor for the first time in 16 years. Amy Goodwin will officially fill the seat come January 2019.
Goodwin, the Democratic candidate, defeated Republican J.B. Akers by 9,488 votes to 8,492 with 100 percent of the precincts in.
Goodwin comes from a career in news, communications, and research.
Before she was elected, Goodwin told WSAZ she would spend her first few days in office looking at the city’s finances under a microscope. After that, her to-do list focuses on turning around the city’s declining population, cutting taxes, and lowering crime.
"I have managed multi-million dollar budgets and hundreds of employees," she said. "It's really easy to say I'll cut the budget. Where you cut it is important, and you can't do that without a full forensic audit, line by line."
She also wants to rearrange how the police department is operating. Goodwin plans to double up on the hybrid unit -- a group of officers that patrols using bikes and walking beats.
"We need more people on the streets, that's number one. We need to crack down on the drug dealers who are in town right now, and most important, we need to work with our communities,” Goodwin said.
Working to build the community is something that current Mayor Danny Jones has been doing through a $3 a week user fee. Anyone who lives or works in the city pays this fee, and it generates almost $8 million annually for additional police officers and road paving.
Goodwin says eventually she would cut the user fee.
"I would love to phase out the user fee, and that will absolutely be a priority," she said. “Especially to the people who already live in the city who already pay that tax, that makes zero sense.”
Goodwin doesn't officially take office until January, but says her work starts now and she's going to take a closer look at some of Charleston's bigger issues, "Make no mistake, there are many. The budget, opportunities for our young people, our small business owners, crime. So there are a lot of pressing issues and they all have to happen simultaneously."
Andy Backus was also on the ticket. He ran as an Independent.