POOLER, Ga. (WTOC) - Pooler voters have elected a new mayor, and they’re replacing most of their city council. It’s an election with some historic news for the growing city.
More than 3,000 people cast their votes in the Pooler elections on Tuesday, almost doubling the turnout from the 2015 elections, and the results certainly showed that.
Rebecca Benton is making history as the first female mayor-elect in the city of Pooler.
Benton has been on Pooler City Council for 16 years. Eight of those she's served as mayor pro tem. Now, she'll replace long-time mayor Mike Lamb who did not seek re-election.
Benton defeated two opponents: Adam Bridges and Steve Larson. She's excited to get to work with her new team for the next four years.
“First, I’m going to meet with the department heads. Then, I’ll meet with the new council and we’ll see what suggestions they have. I ran on experience in government, public safety and recreation,” Benton said.
The 2020 Pooler City Council will consist of Tom Hutcherson, Karen Williams, Aaron Higgins, John Wilcher, Shannon Black and Stevie Wall. Four of those members are brand new to their seats, and with those new eyes come new ideas to implement.
“I think we have unlimited potential. We need to work on our tourism. Our hotels need to be supported more and we need to bring tourism out of Savannah and other cities and bring them in here and show them what Pooler has to offer,” said Karen Williams, unofficial winner, Pooler City Council.
This council race does bring a first. Tom Hutcherson is the first African-American elected to serve on Pooler City Council and he couldn’t be prouder.
“This race was a lot bigger than me because they were all so excited that the door was finally being opened and that I was opening the door. I’m very excited about that and very proud to be that person,” said Tom Hutcherson, unofficial winner, Pooler City Council.
These results remain unofficial until the Secretary of State Office certifies the elections. However, the candidates are excited to head to City Hall.
“That communication, being able to have people come with their ideas and make Pooler a better place to live. You know, it’s cooler in Pooler and I think tonight we proved that,” said Aaron Higgins, unofficial winner, Pooler City Council.
Benton and the rest of council will be sworn in in January.