MARIETTA — A parade of elected officials and community leaders sang the praises of Cobb Chairwoman Lisa Cupid, who took her oath of office after a two and a half hour ceremony at the Cobb Civic Center on Thursday.
Cupid unseated incumbent Mike Boyce, a Republican, in November. She is the first woman and first African American to chair the Cobb Board of Commissioners in county history. She is also the first Democrat to lead the county since the 1980s.
Her victory was part of a larger blue wave in Cobb that saw Democrats sweep every countywide office on the ballot and flip the commission, whose five members are all women — another first.
“I had some prepared remarks — they’re over there,” Cupid said after taking her oath, gesturing to where she had been sitting during the ceremony. “Everything that could be shared has been shared.”
Newly elected Sheriff Craig Owens, the first Black man to hold that office, commented on the historic nature of Cupid’s victory.
“As you all know, it’s a new day in Cobb County,” Owens said, before recalling a recent conversation with a reporter: “I said, ’It is a great responsibility, being the first.’ And the good news is, I think we got the best person to be the first chairwoman of Cobb County.”
Speakers included former Gov. Roy Barnes, several Democrats in Cobb’s legislative delegation; the two newly elected Cobb commissioners, Jerica Richardson and Monique Sheffield; the three Democrats on the Cobb Board of Education; and two former commission chairmen, both of them Republicans: Bill Byrne and Sam Olens.
“The voters couldn’t have made a better choice for a difficult time,” Byrne said. “(Among) the 159 counties across our state, Cobb County traditionally had been a leader in political discussions and business and growth opportunities. Today is no different, but the circumstances have changed. … Cobb needs (Cupid) today more than any other chairman was needed in the past.”
Olens, Georgia’s former attorney general, also commented on the historic nature of the November elections.
“Joined by the region’s first all-woman commission, the possibilities and opportunities are boundless,” he said.
Acknowledging the ceremony had probably gone on longer than most had expected, Cupid kept her remarks short after taking her oath of office. She and her husband “didn’t come to Cobb County as attorneys, we came here as graduates, living in one of the more challenging areas of the county,” she said. “We moved there because it was affordable. … Just the humility of spirit that it taught me, living there — how people perceive you, because you live in a certain geographic code. They didn’t know where we came from. They didn’t know what we accomplished and they didn’t know what God had in store for us.”
Cupid has served on the board as District 4 commissioner since 2013. Her south Cobb district included Powder Springs, Austell, Mableton, the Six Flags area and part of Smyrna. Sheffield will replace Cupid as District 4 commissioner. Almost an hour into the ceremony, after more than a dozen people had gone before her, Sheffield stood to speak.
“I have big shoes to fill,” she joked.
The new Board of Commissioners will meet Tuesday at 9 a.m.