First African American mayor in Surry sworn into office

Local Politics

SURRY, Va. (WAVY) — It’s a historic day in Surry. On Thursday afternoon, the town swore in its first African American mayor.

Bennie Savedge tells 10 On Your Side he never imagined becoming mayor, but he’s humbled and excited to keep the town of Surry moving forward.

A native of Surry, Savedge has served in the community for 23 years.

He took the oath of office for his new role on the steps of the Surry courthouse.

”I’m excited but I’ve been working for so long that it’s just natural,” he said. 

Savedge thanked his neighbor for his start in local government. He said the neighbor took him to his first town meeting. He was put on the planning committee and eventually got elected to town council, then as vice mayor.

“I’m very proud of him and all his accomplishments. He worked his way up through the ranks,” said DeShawn Savedge, Bennie’s son.

Now as mayor, Savedge shared his plans for the future.

“Just working with the county to try and get us a grocery store,” he said. “We got a whole lot of elderly people in town and they can’t go far.”

People who witnessed the historic moment said it’s empowering to see.

“There’s progress in the city and there’s progress in the country, but it’s even more of an accomplishment when people in a community such as this come together and recognize a man who has worked hard to get where he is today,” said Stanley Washington, a Surry resident and friend of Savedge.

As for Savedge, he said no goal is too big to achieve.

“You can be anything in life. I never thought I was going to be mayor, but look at God. God works in mysterious ways,” he said. 

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