The people of Helena have spoken and elected a Liberian refugee as their next mayor. Four term Mayor Jim Smith lost in Tuesday's mail in election to Wilmot Collins. Collins, who fled the civil war in Liberia in the early 1990s, now calls Montana his home. He is a member of the U.S. Naval Reserves and works as a child protection specialist and an adjunct instructor at Helena College, University of Montana.

The new Mayor won by 51% of the vote and campaigned for more affordable housing. Collins also talked about homelessness problem among military veterans and teens. He also called for increasing staffing for the police and fire departments.

Collins is believed to be the first black mayor of Helena since 1874, according to the Montana Historical Society. The first black mayor, Edward W. Johnson who was a barber from Washington, D.C.


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