Local Politics

First black officials elected in Rolesville

Posted November 6, 2015 3:17 p.m. EST
Updated November 10, 2015 2:23 p.m. EST

— Two women have broken the color barrier in Rolesville town government.

Michelle Medley and Sheilah Sutton were elected Tuesday to two open seats on the Rolesville Board of Commissioners, becoming the first black elected officials in the fast-growing town.

"Although there was diversity in the town of Rolesville with the administration, it was mostly gender-based. Now, it’s race-based as well," Medley said. "Other people can follow suit. This can happen. It doesn't just happen in Washington. It's happening in Rolesville."

"Your board represents the make-up of your town. I think we will get closer to that with this move," Sutton said, adding that neither she nor Medley expected they would both win the election.

"We thought that it would be one of us and someone else, possibly," Sutton said.

Sutton said she hopes she and Medley can add "different perspectives that come from different nuances that we haven't explored yet as a town."

"We have grown tremendously and now we are a bedroom community and now it's really time to focus on businesses that cater to those citizens that have chosen to live in this wonderful city," Sutton said.

Eighteen percent of Rolesville's residents identify themselves as black, and Mayor Frank Eagles said the election of black leaders is long overdue.

"We have grown, and we are such a diverse community," Eagles said. "Now, we have these ladies, and they are African-American that are now going to be town officials that will help bring that voice."

Medley and Sutton will be sworn in on Dec. 7.