Young Claims Victory in Philadelphia

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email
James Young

James Young

The Philadelphia mayoral race is close, with a 41-vote difference between Democrats James Young and Rayburn Waddell. That total does not include 44 affidavit ballots. The results have not yet been certified.

Young, an African-American, leads 3-term incumbent Waddell, and Young has claimed the victory. If he's certified the winner, Young would be the first black elected mayor of Philadelphia. He says the town may look the same, but change is here.

"We have had some dark history, but it proves there are a lot of minds that are changing," said Young.

The former Neshoba County supervisor said he believes he received the number of votes he did, not because of the color of his skin, but because of his experience and integrity. But he says if his election is going to change how many Americans perceive Philadelphia, he is happy to do that in the process.

'Locally, I think people acknowledge that they chose the right man," said Young. "Nationally they may make whatever they want to but that dark cloud of old backwoods thinking is being defeated."

And many Philadelphia residents say this is the kind of change and future they want, especially the residents who grew up during the difficult civil rights struggles. They say they hope Young's election will send a strong message across the country.

"That times have really changed," said resident Johnnie Fox. "We have come a long way and we are going to go even further."

And regardless of age or race, the promise of unity and a new direction appears to have hit a chord in the community.

"I thought, my god, how could this have happened? But you know, it is time for a change," said Neshoba County resident Yvette Steele.

"Mississippi has had diversity for a long time now," said business owner Billy Todd. "And now that Philadelphia does we are just joining the rest of the state and I think it is great."

The next mayor will take office July 6.

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