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First Black woman elected to Ames City Council sworn in

Anita Rollins made history in Ames this week as the first Black woman to be elected to city council.

AMES, Iowa — Anita Rollins made history this week in Ames as the first Black woman to be sworn in as a city council member.

Rollins will represent the city's third ward. She has a background in journalism and has worked for Iowa State University. She also previously served on the Ames school board.

She said getting sworn into her new position was exciting because it's the start of a new chapter, but she has some mixed emotions.

"On the one hand, I realized that this is a huge milestone and I'm very humbled and honored to have been elected most definitely, but there is that other piece where it's sort of surprising that I would be the first," Rollins said.

Though Rollins is the first Black woman to be elected to the council. There has been a Black man on the city council before though—Russell Pounds.

Pounds was elected to the council in the early 1970s, according to Alex Fejfar, an exhibits manager with Ames History Museum. 

Rollins said she wants to make her ward proud by ensuring the resources in Ames are accessible to all residents, working on more affordable housing in the area and reaching out to more minority groups. 

"Sometimes that means just getting outside of the council chambers," Rollins said. "Making sure we're identifying populations that we want to have better access to and then creating those relationships."

Rollins hopes her new position inspires others who look like her or are in other minority groups to go after what they want.

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