Wilmer elects 1st black mayor


By Rita Cook / The Ellis County Press

WILMER – She is not only the first black mayor in Wilmer, but only the second woman to take the seat as well. 

Emmanuel Janelle Jearloyn Danielle Denise Wealthy-Williams ran for –  and won – Wilmer’s Mayoral seat back in May, and since then has been going nonstop to bring positive change to the city. 

Emmanuel Janelle Jearloyn Danielle
Denise Wealthy-Williams

In her words, she is the wife of the most “amazing husband, Keven Williams Sr.” and the newly appointed mayor has three children too.

Born and raised in Washington State, Wealthy-Williams started ministry at a young age and she has been a pastor most of her adult life.

“I have been a community advocate for over 20 years,” she adds. “From working in a federal prison to being a foster mom to some incredible young boys of all nationalities.”

She has lived in Wilmer four years, and said she decided to run for mayor “because after hours of prayer, I felt like God wanted me to run. 

“I was quite nervous because never in all of history had an African American person run for Mayor in the city of Wilmer let alone win.

“I could see the major changes taking place in Wilmer from the demographics to the infrastructure.

Wilmer is on the cusp of growth and was in need of a leader to bridge the gap. Between the community and the council, the businesses and the citizens. I believed I was that leader.”

Prior to running for Mayor, Wealthy-Williams served on the Economic Development Board and the Wilmer ADHOC city community planning committee. 

“I always knew I would be an influential leader, a history maker,” she said. “I can’t say I thought I would one day be a mayor in any city.  Before this year I had not personally known a black woman, who was the Mayor.  

Incoming State Representative Carl Sherman, who was once the mayor in DeSoto, was the first person I told I was thinking about running for mayor and without even blinking he told me I could do it. I took the words and ran with it.”

Wealthy-Williams has been mayor now for two months and said, “it is still sometimes hard to believe I won. Even though it was only by two votes I am glad I stepped out on my dream. Prayerfully it will encourage many others to not just vote but run.”

Wealthy-Williams said she believed the time was right for Wilmer.

“We have a hardworking visionary as our new city administrator and an incredible administrative team,” she explained.  “Prosperity is our destiny. Wilmer means “famous,” and we will be known for how the tables turned in our favor. We have multiple companies that are looking at our city as a prime location for their company. I personally will be making every effort to locate companies around the nation that would be a fit in Wilmer.”

The mayor said too, she sees the demographics in the Wilmer community changing and it is at this time the city must find a way to celebrate the diversity.

“Legacy is everything to me,” she added. “When you talk to the residents in our city the one thing we all want is to have a store in our city and a recreation center. Without question all of that is coming. In the mean time we will need to be creative with a community farmer’s market and vendor day and girl/boy’s scout clubs.”  

This month, Wilmer will see a ribbon cutting ceremony for the city’s new city hall and in August the new mayor said she would be hosting a Mayor’s Back to School Rally. 

“This will be a major event for all school-age Wilmer residents,” she said, adding, “In a few months it will appear like Wilmer was an overnight success story. When truthfully successful development has been in the works for quite some time. After years of delay our downtown Wilmer is getting some much-needed improvements.”

A new Police Station has been built too and Wealthy-Williams added there will also be the opening of a major new multifamily apartment complex off Mars Road soon.  As well, she plans to create a Chamber of Commerce and a Mayor’s Club to inspire young children to do their part in making their community better.

“Wilmer has been without a local school for a while now too,” she added. “The plans have been drawn and the decision has been made, a new school is going to be built right off 45.”

The city was also preparing for more new housing development and employment opportunities in the next 12 to 24 months.

“Take a ride through Wilmer – we are working overtime to make it a beautiful city – one we could be proud to call home,” she concluded.

Wealthy-Williams has an Associate degree in Human Service and a Bachelor’s in Human Resources. She also has a Master’s degree in Christian Psychology and in late August she will have her PhD in International Leadership and Community Development.