First African American elected to Waltham City Council in special election
Sharline Nabulime became the first AfricanAmerican to join the Waltham City Council, as well as Ward 6’s first refugee councilor and first female representative, according to an Oct. 11 Waltham Patch article.
A special election had been held on Aug. 25 to replace former Councilor Robert Waddick, who had left to serve as city clerk. Nabulime won with 384 votes to opponent Sean Durkee’s 299. 684 voters — roughly 21 percent of eligible Waltham voters — cast ballots in the election.
Born in Uganda, Nabulime has lived in the United States for decades. On Oct. 9, the same day that Nabulime was sworn in, the Waltham City Council also passed a resolution honoring Waltham’s Ugandan immigrants. Both events occurred one day after Uganda’s 56th Independence Day, according to the same Patch article.
In a tweet celebrating her swearing in, Nabulime wrote, “What a remarkable city we have, and what a deep privilege it is” to serve it.
In an Oct. 11 Instagram post, Nabulime shared her pride in representing “the Ugandan community in Waltham, a city fondly known as ‘Little Kampala.’” Nabulime also said she was thankful for God and for “everyone who had a hand in my campaign, for the neighbors I’ve met, and for this awesome opportunity to serve the community that first welcomed me when I came to this country almost a quarter of a century ago.”
She also wrote, “As we forge ahead with this notion of governance that is open, transparent, and inclusive, I trust that He, God, who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it in me.”
The Patch article quoted Prof. Amber Spry (AAAS) as saying someone “becoming the first person of their background to represent a district” is “a good sign for democracy and a really good sign for local politics.”