Re-elected Walthourville Mayor Daisy Pray promised to always keep the residents first during a ceremony Monday afternoon in which she and the City Council members were sworn in for their new terms of office.
Friends, family, county officials, community members and members of the city’s Police Department attended the outdoor ceremony in front of Walthourville City Hall.
Liberty County Probate Judge Nancy Aspinwall officiated the mayor’s oath of office as Pray’s husband, Nathaniel, held the Bible. Mayor Pray then thanked her family and the residents for re-electing her.
“I always ask God to lead and direct my path so I can make the best decisions for the citizens of Walthourville, Georgia. My heart is in this position. God called me to preach, but this is my ministry right here, working for the citizens of Walthourville, Georgia,” Pray said. “At first, I did not understand my calling, but now I know why God called me. He wants me to do work here in this city, and I’m willing to do whatever God have me to do for this wonderful city because I love what I’m doing.”
Pray said she has an open-door policy and is willing to listen to residents’ concerns and help as much as possible. She then told the council members she is looking forward to working with them and hope that they will come together as a team. Even if they don’t agree, Pray said, they should talk about the problem.
Aspinwall swore in all council members: Patricia A. Green, Charles Anderson Sr., Larry Baker, Luciria Lovette and Vincent K. Pray. They gave short speeches thanking their supporters, with promises to work hard as council members.
Green said, “I would like to thank my family, friends and the citizens of this wonderful city for helping me and having the faith in me to do the duty I’ve sworn to do. Now I say, ‘I’ because I can’t speak for the other members. All I can do is speak for myself, and I promise to help the council members to work for the better of the city.”
She said that if she ever feels that is she unable to do the duties of a council member, she will “faithfully step down and let someone else take the reins.”
Anderson thanked the residents of Walthourville for re-electing him and trusting in him.
“I thank you and appreciate it so much. I promise to work with the council as a team member,” he said.
Baker said, “To hold this position is not considered just a personal victory, but a victory for the city that is moving while improving. Working together with the mayor and council, I see victory for more commercial development. I see victory on working with the county and other municipalities. I see victory for a transparent government. I thank God for the victory.”
Lovette said she wants to continue to establish the trust residents have placed in her for the past 14 years.
“I will continue to stand firm by my original campaign slogan, ‘If voting for Lovette is wrong, Walthourville don’t want to be right.’ I am not perfect, by no means; however, my intentions are good, and my heart is pure,” she said. “In closing, my challenge for the mayor and council is that we implement progressive ideas into positive actions and remember, if you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”
Vincent Pray thanked his wife, children, family and friends for showing their support and voting for him.
"We are one team, one unit and one thing we have in common is the love for the city of Walthourville," he said. "Mayor, city council members, I'm excited. I've got a lot to learn. I'm ready for it. I'm ready for the challenge."
Pastor James Long of Victory Baptist Church opened the program with a prayer of invocation, and Pastor Richard Jones of Abundant Life Fellowship said a prayer asking for unifty among the council members after they were sworn in.
Walthourville police Sgt. Steven Wright led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Walthourville resident Veronica Blackwell sang the national anthem, which drew applause.
Anderson gave the benediction.
The program was followed by a reception inside City Hall.