Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Mosley became the first African American to serve on Portsmouth’s City Council. It has been updated to reflect the correct information.
PORTSMOUTH — In a 3-1 vote, Portsmouth City Council appointed Lyvette Mosley to the 4th Ward seat following a lengthy executive session during its meeting Nov. 9. Mosley became the second Black woman to serve on the council, joining William Ross, Albert White, Sheryl Dickey, and David Malone as the only Black council people in the city’s history.
Mosley became aware of this on Facebook, leaving her with feelings of awe and numbness. Her selection was a great honor, she said because of the highly-qualified four other candidates. Still, Mosley believes her track record of community involvement and her knowledge of the who’s who in the area made her a strong choice for the position.
“When this vacancy came, I just told myself to give it a try,” said Mosley, the open seat due to former councilperson Andrew McManus’s resignation announcement during the Oct. 12 session. “All the many things I’ve done, I believed were things that the council was looking for.”
Among those that voted for her, 1st Ward councilperson Sean Dunne said it was not an easy decision, but rather a “great problem” due to the wide range of backgrounds and ideas that the applicants had.
“What weighed heaviest on my mind is what I thought Councilwoman Mosley will put into action,” said Dunne, joined by 2nd Ward Councilwoman Charlotte Gordon and 5th Ward councilperson Edwin Martell in support. “I think it’s great that our city is showing that different individuals and groups are being represented on the council.”
Dunne also hopes she joins in support of social and racial justice reform, which has been a goal of his this year, once opportunities are presented on agenda.
An Akron native, Mosley has lived in the 4th Ward for 30 years and has taken a very active role in the community. In addition to her work as the coordinator of the Southern Ohio Senior Games, she has worked with the Red Cross, the Alcohol, Drug, Addiction, Mental Health Services of Adams, Lawrence and Scioto counties, and Portsmouth Connex.
With her work in the Senior Games, she would like to see increased engagement from the community and an overall healthier Scioto County which recently ranked last in Ohio in the 2020 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program.
Beyond it being a plus for tourism, where athletes from across the state and country compete in this Portsmouth-based event, Mosley said a healthier city is a more inspired and happier one.
“We just want to promote our city,” she said of the board, which had to cancel this year’s competition due to the coronavirus. “When you watch and you see others doing it, it inspires you to feel that you can do it as well.”
For her, making a difference in the community means listening to what residents have to say, which is why she will literally be knocking on doors in the ward to get a sense of what action is needed.
“I’ve been here, rolling up my sleeves, for 30 years doing whatever I can do for the betterment of the city,” said Mosley, adding that she wants her constituents to feel accounted for by Council. “I believe you grow where you plant it and since I have been planting it I just want to see it grow.”
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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