Yvonne Flowers to make history in January as Poughkeepsie's first Black mayor
Poughkeepsie mayor-elect Yvonne Flowers will make history this January when she is sworn into office.
Flowers easily defeated her opponent to become the 170-year-old city's first Black mayor, even though a third of the population is Black.
Flowers, an accountant, does not like politics. Her late father and community activist John Flowers eventually convinced her to run for City Council in the early 2010s. She has been on the council since 2015.
"Having a person of color in that position can also be able to understand the challenges that are facing our Black and brown communities," Flowers said.
Flowers said she's had a hard time just getting non-Black city leaders to realize the challenges that Black people face. She says her administration will not overlook those struggles.
"I had to help people understand what the issues are and some of the ways of trying to resolve them. So in this case now, you have someone who understands it," she said.
Flowers has maintained constructive relationships with the police and people who have issues with the police. She's helped change hiring policies to prioritize applicants who live in the city. She says that's helped bring the total number of Black Poughkeepsie police officers up to seven and she's plans to lift it further as mayor.
Flowers said she wants to further diversify City Hall, and she's going to have her chances. One of the first hires she's going to have to make is for the position of city administrator.