By A Special Correspondent in Wisconsin
Gambian-born Samba Baldeh was last Tuesday elected to the prestigious position of President of the Common Council of the Madison City Council, capital of the US Midwestern State of Wisconsin.
The election of Alder (Councilor) Baldeh and his deputy Alder Sheri Carter, both of them representing District 17 and District 14 respectively in the Madison City Council, is the first time such leadership positions are held simultaneously by people of African descent.
Baldeh, who hails from the village of Choya in the Niamina West district of the Central River Region, migrated to the United States in 1999 and was first elected as Alder (Councilor) of the Madison City Council in 2015 for a two-year term and he was re-elected in 2017. As President of the Common Council, he performs the functions of deputy Mayor of the municipality, in addition to being in charge of the over-all management of the City Council office.
During his tenure, Baldeh was instrumental in the twinning of Madison and Kanifing Municipal Council in 2015 from which Kanifing had been benefitting from some assistance. Recently for instance, as part of the Sister-City program, Baldeh and his colleagues have sent a container of medical supplies for distribution to hospitals and other health facilities within the KMC and other parts of the Gambia.
In his acceptance speech after his election, Baldeh thanked his predecessor, Alder Marsha Rummel for his leadership qualities, and he also expressed the wish to work with all his colleagues in the Council to help advance the lives of all the residents of the City of Madison.
“I think this is symbolically an excellent thing to have people of color in leadership positions in government. Now, all these advancements need to translate into real life-changing initiatives and that is what I intend to do,” he said.
He concluded by thanking the residents of District 17 for their continuous confidence in him as well as the immigrant community in Madison, particularly his Gambian compatriots for their support.