Tags: Government & News & Crime
City of Cumming Council members, from left: Ralph Perry, Rupert Sexton, Mayor H. Ford Gravitt, John Pugh, Quincy Holton, Lewis Ledbetter and Municipal Court Judge Richard Neville. (click for larger version)
January 27, 2014CUMMING, Ga. — H. Ford Gravitt, the city of Cumming's mayor, entered his 43rd year of service, further solidifying the title of longest-serving mayor in Georgia.
Gravitt, along with Councilmember Rupert Sexton, who was first elected in 1970, and Councilmember Quincy Holton, first elected in 1969, were sworn-in Jan. 21 by Cumming Municipal Court Judge Richard Neville.
Prior to being elected mayor in 1970 (his term began 1971), Gravitt, 72, served a term as a member of the Cumming City Council.
That's a total of 46 years in office.
"I pledge to the people of Georgia and Forsyth County to work hard now as I did all those years ago," Gravitt told attendees of the swearing-in ceremony. "We've got a lot of projects on the drawing board that we plan to work on, and we have a great council that any city would be proud to have."
Holton, 77, is a Cumming native who retired from Sawnee Electric Membership Corp. after 40 years. Sexton, 75, is a fifth-generation Cumming native and army veteran with past auto sales and insurance sales experience.
Gravitt, who has served about 1,600 days in office, says he has never missed a meeting.
"I've been lucky from the standpoint of being healthy," Gravitt said. "Back when I first ran for public office, I didn't plan to make it a lifetime career.
"I went in and felt like a young teenager, and now I've got to be an old man," Gravitt said. "But I haven't always been in politics – I was in the automobile repair business for 44 years in addition to this, so it hasn't always been politics over the years; but I'm proud to have served the people of Cumming and Forsyth County and the state, and I'm vigorously awaiting the challenge ahead."
Some upcoming challenges the mayor and council will be faced with include the repair of a dam that burst near Lake Lanier last year, ongoing construction of a new courthouse, parking decks and jail in downtown Cumming and Nydia Tisdale, a video camera activist, who was told to stop video recording a public meeting in April 2012. The state attorney general and Tisdale have filed separate lawsuits against the city. For its part, city leaders say they acted within their rights.