The City Of Poughkeepsie Has Its First Black Mayor


On Tuesday, Yvonne Flowers took the oath of office as Mayor of the City of Poughkeepsie. In doing so, Flowers made history as the first African American to hold this mayoral position.

Flowers spoke to ESSENCE about her historic win, saying, “I want to thank my family, friends and supporters for going on this historic journey with me. I am about to take the mantle and begin the earnest work to push the City of Poughkeepsie to its true potential and to unify our city.”

“I am heartened by the show of support I received from all sections of the city during the election. In order to overcome the challenges we face as a city, we need to address them with a bipartisan mindset and find ways to work together as one community. It was our ‘village’ who helped me become the person I am today, and it will be our village that will help this city thrive,” Flowers told ESSENCE.

“I recognize there is a lot of work to do, and I am calling on members of the community to join me in this work and to understand that change can’t happen overnight, but progress can — and will — be made if we each do our part to help nurture the city we love,” Flowers continued.

Flowers is no stranger to city politics—the 57-year-old Poughkeepsie native has represented the Fifth Ward as a council representative for eight years.

And her victory in the mayoral election is the culmination of a 15-year-long journey inspired by John M. Flowers, her late father who was an active member of the Poughkeepsie community.

Initially, after her father encouraged her to run, Flowers vehemently “balked,” the Times Union reports.

“I told him: ‘Hell, no,’” adding, “I hate politics. I don’t want to have anything to do with it.” But Flowers “decided to run so that she could get the resources her neighborhood needed.”

She would end up winning her first election, but was unseated in 2011 and took a break from the political scene to spend quality time with her loved ones. But in 2012, her beloved husband Alphonso “Sam” Alexander unexpectedly suffered a heart attack and subsequently died.

Then in 2015, she decided to run again, and lost once more. It was during this campaign that she learned of her father’s terminal cancer. “Once he passed, I was trying to figure out what to do,” Flowers said. “My husband was gone; my dad was gone. I’m watching things happen around me and I’m like, ‘You know what, that can be changed, that can be taken care of.’ So I decided to jump back in.”

Flowers reclaimed her council seat in 2017, then was reelected in 2019 and 2021. Remarkably, “[s]he ran all of her races on the Republican Party line until 2021, when she was on the Democrat Party line.”

In this latest election, Flowers left no room for doubt. She “won every one of the eight wards in the city,” according to the Hudson Valley Press.


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