Updated: Aug 28, 2021
by: Michael Gordon
Posted: Nov 14, 2017 / 01:38 PM EST/ Updated: Jan 22, 2019 / 09:11 PM EST
History was made Monday night, as Laurie-Anne Sayles became the first African American to be sworn into the Gaithersburg City Council.
The first was Yvette Monroe, who was appointed to fill a vacant city council seat back in February.
For Sayles, it was a moment of personal triumph and the realization of an American Dream that began with her parents.
“I’m a first generation Jamaican-American,” said Sayles. “My parents migrated here from Jamaica, so I’m just thinking back to how far we’ve come.”
Sayles’ path to city council began in 2015, when she narrowly lost her first bid to take office by about 200 votes.
“I believe that everything happens for a reason, and it’s not when I want something, but when it’s the time, and I think that these two years gave me time to really learn more about the issues,” said Sayles.
The swearing in was also special for councilmember Michael Sesma, who won his re-election campaign and knows about breaking new ground, as he became the first Hispanic and minority to make the city council 12 years ago.
“It is a special night,” Sesma said. “I think it is an historic night as well. It was an historic night in 2005 when I was first elected too, so it is important that we acknowledge that and understand that but also know that what it represents is the best of Gaithersburg.”
However, there was some disappointing news following Gaithersburg’s election, as officials said that less than 4,000 votes were cast, a number representing just ten percent of the city’s population.