Yvonne Flowers took the oath of office as City of Poughkeepsie Mayor today, becoming the first African American to hold the position, calling for unity and community support and pledging to work on behalf of all residents for the betterment of the city.
Flowers, a lifelong resident and four-term Common Councilwoman, was sworn in at the Poughkeepsie High School Auditorium, along with members of the Common Council. You can watch it here and read a copy of her speech here.
“Today we take the mantle and begin the earnest work to push the City of Poughkeepsie to its true potential, to unify our city, to ensure it’s a safe place where all are welcome and can thrive,” said Flowers. “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 presented outgoing Mayor Marc Nelson with a proclamation at the event, praising his work and thanking him for a seamless transition during these past few months following her victory in the November election.
Flowers, a graduate of Poughkeepsie City School District and Dutchess Community College, has served as Chair of the city’s Finance Committee, Co-Chair of the city’s Procedural Justice Committee and has been on the board of directors of numerous organizations, including R.E.A.L Skills Network Inc., Hudson River Housing and the Dutchess County Board of Ethics. She worked at Dutchess Community College for more than 33 years as the college’s Grants and Contracts Finance Officer and former Supervisor of Student Accounts Office.
Flowers became involved in community activities at a young age, working alongside her father John M. Flowers, Sr., who coordinated large community events, including the John Flowers Old Fashioned Easter Egg Hunt, Father’s Day Parade/Celebration and Community Day Picnic.
Poughkeepsie Common Council members joined Flowers in taking their oaths of office today, including new Councilmember-at-Large Da’Ron Wilson. He is a graduate of Poughkeepsie High School, received his bachelor of arts degree in political science with a minor in pre-law from Virginia State University, and obtained his master’s of science degree from Mercy College in Adolescent Education 7-12. Wilson also served as a sergeant in the United States Army and is an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran.
Wilson has worked for the Poughkeepsie City School District for more than 20 years as a 7th– 12th grade U.S. History & Global Studies teacher, a Co-Principal, and a co-facilitator of the after-school initiative Brother 2 Brother. He is currently the district’s Executive Director of School Engagement.
Wilson said, “I am honored to begin serving, knowing full well the Common Council is eager to get started and intends to work closely with Mayor Flowers and her administration to address the needs of the city.”
Among her many roles, Flowers will serve on the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet Leadership Council, co-chairing it with Poughkeepsie City School District Superintendent Dr. Eric Jay Rosser. Wilson also will serve on the Cabinet’s Leadership Council.
“Mayor Flowers and Mr. Wilson have done tremendous work for the community, and I am excited about the accomplishments that will be achieved in their new leadership roles,’’ said Dr. Rosser. “The two of them are perfect examples of what our community can produce when we work together. Both graduated from the Poughkeepsie City School District and understand the community’s role and obligation in preparing the next generation of our community’s citizens and leaders. I look forward to working closely with them as we continue our cradle to career initiatives through the Children’s Cabinet. The Children’s Cabinet has worked to bring the school district, the city, Duchess County, service providers and many others together to give children access to more resources, to enrich their lives and put them on a path for a better future.”
Flowers said public safety, housing, homelessness, economic development and community relations also would be among her priorities.
In addition to Wilson, the 2024 City of Poughkeepsie Common Council members are: Ernest Henry, First Ward; Evan Menist, Second Ward; Terriciena Brown, Third Ward; Nathan Shook, Fourth Ward; Ondie James, Fifth Ward; Christopher Grant, Sixth Ward; Nedra Patterson Thompson, Seventh Ward; and Megan Deichler, Eighth Ward.