ALCOA, Tenn. (WATE) — Two women are making history in the City of Alcoa. Mayor Tanya Martin and Vice-Mayor Tracey Cooper were elected back in November.
Both are the first females ever elected in their positions in the City of Alcoa.
“This is my home. I was born here, and my parents lived here, so I had no choice,” Martin said. “This is where I was born and went to Charles M. Hall High School. Then, in 1963 I was one of fifteen people to integrate Alcoa High School.”
From growing up in segregation to being elected the first Black woman Mayor of Alcoa, Martin has been a large part of creating history in her city.
When talking about election day, Martin said, “Well, when we went to the meeting and Tracey said, I nominate Tonya Martin, and then when it went my way and I was elected mayor, it’s really surreal.”
Mayor Martin has seen the city grow tremendously over the past several decades and so has Vice Mayor Tracey Cooper, who also grew up in Blount County and raised her kids here.
“My husband and I for years have always done community service through the school systems because our kids grew up in Alcoa,” Cooper said
Martin was first elected in 2018 to the board of commissioners. Cooper started on the board back in 2020. During their years of service, their city has continued to expand.
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“Springbrook Farms has started having a whole bunch of businesses coming in and buying properties and all the stuff they’ve been working towards through planning, you’re starting to see it all take shape now,” Cooper said.
However, both Cooper and Martin say there’s still work to be done.
Martin said, “the future looks like continued growth for the City of Alcoa.”
Cooper adds, “the MLK center is a place we need to expand, we need to adapt and make this more usable for our community.”
Alcoa is a community both grew up in and are now helping run.
When asked if she ever thought she would be the city’s mayor, Martin said, “absolutely not. I was thinking about that. You know, as you think about growing up and where you go to school and you think about going to college, getting married, having kids, never did I think I would be mayor.”
But she is, And with the help of Cooper and the rest of the board of commissioners, they’re looking forward to their next history-making move.
Cooper said, “being mayor and the vice mayor has nothing to do with power, it’s just more responsibility.”
Mayor Martin and Vice Mayor Cooper will host a meet and greet with the community on January 21 from 1-3 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Junior Community Center.