NORTH BRADDOCK (KDKA) — North Braddock has elected its first Black mayor.
Democrat Cletus Lee unseated incumbent Republican challenger Albert Senic in the race for mayor on Tuesday.READ MORE: Protest Held Outside Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald's Home Hours Before COVID-19 Vaccination Deadline For Employees
“I am the first Black mayor of North Braddock, 146 years,” Lee said.
The race was close, with Lee winning by 77 votes.
“The first thing I did was, I got on my knees and I thanked God,” Lee said.
With Lee poised to become the first Black mayor in the borough’s history, he plans to use his representation to inspire.
“I’ve been through a lot of adversity in my life,” Lee said. “If I can do this, you can do this too. Don’t quit. Believe. Don’t quit.”READ MORE: 5,000-6,000 Gallons Of Gas Spilled Into Washington County Stream
During his term, Lee said he will focus on equity, lowering crime, growing the borough’s thinning population and addressing blight.
He plans to use his experience as a demolition contractor to help get the job done.
“There are problems with the finance. So if private industry can come in on some things, we can fix some of those finances and try to get the necessary grants or loans or someone coming in and wanting to buy certain properties” he said.
Lee was hit with assault and harassment charges back in July after getting in the middle of an altercation between his ex-girlfriend and another woman. Lee said this is still going through the legal channels, but he said he is ready to put the situation to rest.
“Innocent until proven guilty,” Lee said. “Some people want to already step on your name and your lineage name. And right now, that’s all done. I can say this confidently, it’s all fine.”
Lee grew up in North Braddock Heights and spent most of his childhood playing sports. He spent a brief period living out of the state before coming back to his hometown in the late 90s to be close to his family.MORE NEWS: Liquor Control Board Report Reveals Unflavored Vodka As Top-Selling Drink In Pennsylvania
The mayor-elect is already thinking about his first day in office and has his hopes set on working with Ed Gainey, mayor-elect for the city of Pittsburgh, to solve key issues in both areas.