Auburn senior Williams-Cole sworn in as mayor of Camp Hill
Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Contributor: Neal Reid, Auburn University Office of Communications and Marketing
With his parents Juanice and Melvin Cole at his side, Auburn University senior Messiah Williams-Cole took the oath of office as the new mayor of Camp Hill, Alabama on Monday night.
The 21-year-old interdisciplinary studies major was joined by his sister, Shakeera Tensley, friends, former teachers and more than 40 residents for the festivities at Camp Hill Town Hall. Williams-Cole—who defeated incumbent Ezell Woodyard-Smith 259-156 in an Oct. 6 runoff election—was focused and humble as he addressed the crowd at the short ceremony.
“I didn’t do this alone,” Williams-Cole said. “I’ve always had my family and friends supporting me. Since being elected, I’ve been eager to get to work. I’m excited, happy and a little nervous to make sure I uphold the things I promised.”
Williams-Cole also stressed the need for solidarity for the town of less than 1,000 people that is located 30 minutes from Auburn’s campus.
“From here on, it has to be a community effort,” he said. “It’s going to take all of us who have been elected, as well as the community. It’s time to make sure we work together, hand in hand, toward the things we want to accomplish.
“I have a firm belief that myself and the council we’ve built here, along with the citizens of Camp Hill will all work together to build something strong to be proud of. We have to be one town and one team.”
His mother Juanice, a retired corrections officer who served as his do-it-all campaign manager, felt gratified at the ceremony.
“As a mother, it makes me feel very good, very proud,” she said. “He’s a die-hard Camp Hill man. We have a lot of obstacles [to overcome], but I’m very proud.”
Lee County Circuit Court Judge Mike Fellows is a mentor of Williams-Cole’s who administered his oath of office on the special night.
“Messiah is different,” said Fellows, who earned his undergraduate degree at Auburn. “He’s got his head screwed on straight, and he’s obviously willing to do a lot of extra work to serve his community. He cares enough to do it, and I think that says a lot about him.
“I’ve seen a lot of people come and go, and I’m confident Messiah is going to do a great job for this place.”
Camp Hill Municipal Judge Mike Speakman—who swore in the town’s five new council members at the gathering—is another Auburn University graduate who voiced praise for the young mayor.
“As an Auburn alumnus, it makes me very proud to see an Auburn student reaching for the sky, going for it all and accomplishing something,” said Speakman, a 1984 Auburn grad. “[It’s clear] Auburn faculty is doing a good job with Auburn students. I look forward to seeing what Mayor Messiah Williams-Cole is going to do in Camp Hill, Alabama.”