Wilmington’s new Mayor, Dennis Williams was sworn in to office at the site of his old elementary school, in front of a packed crowd of students along with state and city leaders.
In a departure from tradition, Williams was sworn in at the school he went to as a kid in northeast Wilmington. While Williams’ alma mater North East Elementary doesn’t exist anymore, students at East Side Charter School which now resides at the site were more eager to adopt Williams as one of their own.
Williams said he made the decision to take his oath of office at his former school as part of an effort to inspire the students who now attend there. “It’s important to me to return to my roots and inspire these students to believe that they too can one day become Mayor.”
Williams pledged to move the city forward as he takes office, “Look for the future, because you are going to see the future in this administration. I’m not going to be a 9th floor Mayor. I am going to be accessible. I’m going to be out there in the community.”
He also had some words of encouragement for the students in attendance for his inauguration. “Make sure you have someone in your life that you can go to and confide in, whenever you have a problem or you’re feeling bad. You have to have someone you trust and someone you can talk to. And if you don’t, you can call the mayor’s office and talk to me.”
Williams has made a name for himself as ‘tough on crime’ guy who said during the campaign that he would not use the ‘hug a thug’ method of policing. He showed a softer side during this morning’s ceremony, fighting emotion as he thanked his mother and brother for their help and support over the years.
“I am filled with emotion this morning. I am here as a little kid from the riverside housing projects, who came from a divorced family, but our father still played a role in our lives, but society said we would never make it.” With a strong family and help of many teachers at his neighborhood school, Williams has now made it as the 55th Mayor of Wilmington.
Mayor Williams will deliver a more formal inaugural address when members of Wilmington City Council are sworn in later tonight at the Redding City/County Building in downtown Wilmington.