PELAHATCHIE, Miss. (WJTV) – A historic change happened tonight in Rankin County. The Town of Pelahatchie’s first African-American female mayor took oath into office.
It was standing room only in the town event center as Ryshonda Beechem was sworn in by Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Jim Kitchens.
Beechem is not only the first black mayor for Pelahatchie, but also for Rankin County.
“Color is really not a factor, but the support and the love that the town has shown me, I really appreciate,” Beechem said after being sworn in.
“I think it’s going to just an awesome opportunity for here to do well. As long as the whole town is backing her, she cannot fail,” Sherelda Jones, a Pelahatchie native, said.
The Jackson State University alumnae shocked some people when she defeated two other opponents on June 6th.
“I know up until this point, even ten years ago something like that didn’t seem like it would be possible. So I think that’s great,” Sam Williams, who just moved to the town, said.
The 37-year-old replaced a mayor who didn’t seek re-election after serving for 16 years. She says she already knows her first order of business, “Milltown Park is a recreational park for our youth in Pelahatchie…I’m working on that so we can maybe raise money that the youth will have somewhere to play.”
Beechem also owns an accounting firm, daycare, and media company. She also coaches a local dance team.