First Black female judge elected in Gwinnett County, Georgia
Carol Ozemhoya| OW Contributor | 5/31/2018, 11:28 a.m.
Gwinnett Country, Georgia, which is north of Atlanta with a population of almost a million people, elected its first Black judge ever, and she’s also a woman. Ronda Colvin-Leary, a local attorney, won her nonpartisan race for a spot on Gwinnett’s State Court bench, making her the first Black judge elected in the history of one of Georgia’s most diverse counties — and she may also be its first person of color elected in a countywide local election, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I’m just humbled that so many people believed in me,” Colvin-Leary said. “And I think it’s significant also because I had the support of a lot of people, I had bipartisan support. … I think why that means so much to me is that people looked past the race [of the candidates].” Colvin-Leary has already crossed the finish line. Because Gwinnett’s local judicial races are nonpartisan, her victory last week over opponent Lance Tyler is final and there will be no second election in November. Gwinnett spokesman Joe Sorenson said the county has had Black judges appointed to its magistrate, juvenile and recorders courts. The county’s Administrative Office of the Courts, however, confirmed that no Black judge had ever been elected. Two Gwinnett cities recently elected the county’s first-ever non-white mayors, and voters in a handful of legislative districts have sent non-white candidates to the state Capitol in recent years. But Colvin-Leary is believed to be the first Black candidate ever elected in a countywide local election. Advocates say more diverse leadership can pave the way for fresh ideas and more equitable representation.