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Wilmot Collins to be sworn in as Helena Mayor Tuesday


HELENA- Helena municipal candidates elected in November will be sworn on Tuesday.

Wilmot Collins narrowly defeated four-term incumbent Jim Smith in the mayoral race. Collins, a black Liberian refugee, gained national attention following his win.

He arrived in the United States in 1994 during Libera’s civil war. Collins currently works as a child protection specialist for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

He campaigned on a platform that included increased funding for police and fire and addressing veteran and teen homelessness in the community.

According to the Montana Historical Society, Collins will be the first official black mayor of Helena and the first in state history.

Helena previously chose a black mayor in 1874, prior Montana’s statehood and Helena’s incorporation as a city.

Also being sworn in on Tuesday is City Commissioner Andre Haladay and Commissioner-Elect Heather O’Loughlin.

All three were part of a self-described progressive slate of candidates that swept the city elections.

The swearing-in ceremony will be at 10:00 a.m. in the State Capitol Rotunda.