First black woman announces her candidacy for Richland mayor

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RICHLAND, Ga. (WRBL) – A Richland woman is making history, becoming the first Black woman to run for mayor in the city. Neola Alston announced her candidacy to run for Mayor of Richland on August 19, at the Richland Rum Distillery.

When Alston’s 91-year-old grandfather heard she was running for Mayor, he made sure he was in attendance when she told the public. Alston told News 3 it was a joyous moment.

“My grandfather has been to every monumental everything with me. I know that it is important to him that I do the best that I can do, he doesn’t expect any more than that. At the same time, he’s always in the back of my mind to do the best,” Alston said.

Alston says she wants to give her best Richland by making it a “Rich-land” again, she wants to bring business, better education and more to help the citizens of Richland and to help the community grow.

“There’s somebody out there who wants to pour into a community such as this because let me tell you, there’s more than just beautiful farmland out here. There’s more than that, there’s beautiful people, there’s beautiful ideas in those people, there’s beautiful conceptions of things that have not come as yet. Even as we sit here in Richland Rum, we’re in a very rich place and what most people would say is desolation. Let me tell you, this place is not the dunghill, this place still has life springing up,”

Not only does Alston plan to pour into the community but she wants to pour into the youth of Richland and inspire little girls to chase after their dreams.

“In actuality, it’s very humbling. I’m honored to serve in any capacity and I tell people I’m not your typical politician because I’m just a servant, this is what I do. I’m really hoping to inspire not just the little black girl but inspire everybody. I’m so engrossed in the idea of unity, being a veteran I’ve been exposed to every walk of life. But for that little black girl, I don’t ever want her in 2021 to think she can’t do something because of the color of her skin. I was in the service ranks and I know what it is to be an African American woman in leadership and it’s not always welcome but at the same time, sometimes you have to work harder, you’ve got to run harder and roll up your sleeves and do the most work,” Alston said.

Alston also has a plan to help combat COVID-19 in the community.

“There are plans in place to do more for the community, the obvious thing is to keep the social distancing rules and make sure sanitation is everywhere. To enforce the wearing of the mask if they are going into these facilities, whether they’re vaccinated or not we don’t know who’s a carrier. There are plans in place and were still building strategies for more plans,” Alston said.

Alston told News 3 she’s hopeful for the upcoming election.

“Right now I’m feeling really good, I’m feeling really hopeful. I would like to say the people that have been in this town deserve sound leadership, integrity and someone that’s really going to care about them and not just their vote,” Alston said.

Voting for the election begins on November 2.

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