Monique Sheffield was sworn in as the new county commissioner from District 4.
Opening remarks were given by Austell Mayor Ollie Clemons followed by State Representative for District 39 Erica Thomas.
Mayor Clemons said, “It is my pleasure, my honor my privilege to congratulate you, your husband and your family and this election.”
“We could have never known that we would be celebrating the election (of) my friend and commissioner and new Chair-elect Lisa Cupid,” he said.
“We could have never known that we would still be dealing with the pandemic that is, at present, raging and running amok,” Clemons said. “We could have never known that we would have been here today, congratulating you (Sheffield) and looking forward to the future. Because we know that it’s going to be bright. I am happy to be able to say that I look forward to you as my friend and my commissioner in District 4 as well. I know you’re going to do a great job.”
Representative Thomas said, “Thank you so much for having me here.”
“It’s such an honor and in such a sweet spot to be here at the swearing in of my now good friend, Commissioner-elect Monique Sheffield,” she said. “You know, I just want to start by saying that this seat deserves someone that has courage. This seat also deserves someone that has tenacity. And if you don’t know Monique Sheffield by now, you know that she embodies both of those things and so much more. She has worked so hard.”
Sheffield’s husband Eric spoke about his experience in campaigning with his wife.
He told a story that got laughter from the audience.
Early in the campaign there was a lot of chaos.
“Things were just going haywire. Staff wasn’t working out. And Monique said, ‘You know what, I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna run my own campaign’, (which is a big no-no in politics). ‘I’m just going to run my own campaign. And you, I want you to be my field director.’
“I said, I’ll do anything you want. Just tell me what the field director is.”
Board of Commissioners Chair-elect Lisa Cupid spoke, and acknowledged members of Sheffield’s family present in the audience and introduced the elected officials who were present.
She then said, “Thank you to all of you who are here today together for this very special day to help usher Monique into her term as commissioner here on the Board of Commissioners in Cobb County.”
“We know that it took a lot of hard work for her to make it to this milestone, and took a labor of love as well,” Cupid said. “You know, no feat like this can happen without the support of others. And it truly is about teamwork. So with all of you being here today, it’s a testament of what it’s going to take for us to continue to move Cobb County to the next level. It’s going to be about all of us coming together and working together.”
“The challenges of our district are unique,” she said. “They didn’t start overnight. They won’t be resolved overnight.”
“But you are here for such a time as this, to do what you can to make right the things that you can,” she said. “I think every Commissioner who’s here wants you to know we are your partners in this effort. You do not have to do anything alone. And in using your time wisely, use us wisely. I don’t want you to ever feel the burden of thinking that district forest issues are so unique, that you don’t have the support you need to address those challenges.”
“I know you won’t ever have to have the challenges that I’ve had on serving on this board,” Cupid said. “But I also know even without those challenges, it’s amazing to have somebody with all of the experience that you serve on here, this board, just you as a person, you are taking us to the next level. And that’s one of the greatest gifts God could have given me: to leave this to somebody better. So I’m grateful to be here. I’m honored to recognize you today. And I’m looking forward to continued better days for District 4. Thank you, Monique.”
Judge Hill read a poem by Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman,” that begins:
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Further comments were made by Commissioner-elect Jerica Richardson, State Representative Erick Allen, Sheffield’s sisters and school board member elect Leroy Tre’ Hutchins.
After Hill administered the oath of office, Sheffield recognized the elected officials who had spoken earlier, and her family.
“To my mother, my darling mother, you have been my reservoir of strength. You are the embodiment of resilience, and you are my lifelong superhero,” Sheffield said.
She told the story of her family becoming homeless in Brooklyn, NY after a fire destroyed their home.
“I stand before you at the end of one road and at the beginning of another,” she said. “The path before me is to be of service not just to residents in District 4 but to Cobb County as a whole.”
“These are undoubtedly challenging times and families across the county are faced with insecurities as it relates to their health, their children In finances, employment, food and shelter,” Sheffield said. “It is our responsibility as leaders to provide assurances to those that we serve by leading with the heart of humanity: compassion, fairness and equity.”
“Cobb County has close to 800,000 residents with that number projected to to grow close to 1 million in under 10 years. That’s a lot of growth. There are a lot of great reasons that make Cobb a great place to call home and District 4 is one of those reasons.”
Sheffield was elected in a runoff after a crowded primary race when Commissioner Lisa Cupid announced she would be leaving her post to run for the chairmanship of the Board of Commissioners.
The race was decided in a runoff contest between Sheffield and opponent Shelia Edwards.
She ran unopposed in the general election.
Sheffield was part of a historic election cycle. Cupid is the first Black chair of the Board of Commissioners. The BOC now has its first Black majority, and the first Democratic majority since 1984. And the incoming BOC is all-women.