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New Year’s Inauguration Brings Historic Firsts for Auburn City Council


When Rhoda Overstreet-Wilson and Christina Calarco are sworn in next week as Auburn city councilors, it will mark two milestones for the city. It will mark the first time that the council has been majority female and Overstreet-Wilson will become the first African American council member.

Speaking to Finger Lakes News Radio about the history-making accomplishment, Overstreet-Wilson said she is honored and hopes to serve as an inspiration for the city’s girls.

“When I think about it in its entirety, of being the first African American and also being a part of that majority of women ever to sit on City Council, I’m excited about the pathway it creates for the young girls behind me,” she said.

Her goals for her term include working to help the city benefit from Micron coming to nearby Clay while also growing already existing industries and businesses throughout the city. Being born and raised in Auburn, she added that another priority for her will be to work with her colleagues to continue to advocate for the health of Owasco Lake, the city’s drinking water source.

Overstreet-Wilson and Calarco join Ginny Kent in creating the first female majority council in the city’s history. Overstreet-Wilson added that there aren’t any other women she’d rather partner with for this historic occasion and hopes they can all work together to improve the city.

Overstreet-Wilson and Calarco’s victories came as¬†part of a large push by Democrats to win positions in the city and county. City Councilor Jimmy Giannettino was able to defeat Republican Tim Lattimore to become Auburn’s next mayor. These victories, coupled with Councilors Terry Cuddy and Kent keeping their seats as they were not up for reelection, mean Democrats completely control the council.

At the county level. Brian Scanlan, an independent who was backed by Democrats, won a three-way race against Republican Chris Petrus and Conservative Kristine Lytle to succeed Sue Dwyer as Cayuga County Clerk.

With the county legislature shrinking from 15 to 11 seats, Democrats were able to secure a majority, winning six of the 11 available seats.

Overstreet-Wilson, Calarco, and Giannettino will all be sworn in at noon on New Year’s Day at City Council Chambers.

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