Beaufort swears in first-ever African-American mayor

Crystal Coast

BEAUFORT, N.C. (WNCT)- Beaufort is creating history with Mayor Sharon Harker, now serving as the first African-American mayor for the town.

Harker is taking on her new role with nothing but positivity for the future of Beaufort. She is succeeding two-term mayor Rett Newton.

“We are facing some growth, and we want to be able to manage that appropriately so that we could protect our resources, our environment, it’s included in that resource, as well as the culture and the things that we value in Beaufort,” said Harker.

She said being the first African-American mayor of the town speaks volumes to the values of the community and she hopes it serves as an inspiration to others.

“So it’s a pretty historical moment for a town’s 308-year-old history. You know, being the first is important because it paves the way for others to follow up, and I see my role as inspiring others to achieve their heights no matter their role, no matter their race or gender,” explained Harker.

Harker has a list of goals that include addressing affordable housing, managing growth, and economic development, and continuing to work on environmental issues, just to name a few.

“We also have a rich history and I want to see that history told in a much more diverse way. So I want to be able to promote diversity, equity inclusion, so all of our citizens can feel included and make sure that their voices are heard,” explained Harker.

She said, with the honor of being elected mayor, being the first African-American mayor also brings a lot of responsibility.

“It is important for young people of color to see someone like myself in a leadership role,” she said, “We work better together than we do apart. So I’m really excited about the new path that hopefully will go on in a very positive way.”

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