Fifteen elected officials are set to begin new terms for Henrico County on Jan. 1, following a swearing-in ceremony that included several firsts and a surprise marriage proposal.
Nine returning incumbents and six newcomers took their oaths of office, affirming their commitments to the constitutions of the United States and Commonwealth of Virginia, during an investiture held Dec. 11 at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen.
“All of them will contribute their time, their passion and their energy to the service of this county and its people,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “They are placing themselves on the public stage, and we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.”
Among those marking firsts or making history were:
- Alisa A. Gregory, the first African American and the first woman to be elected sheriff of Henrico
- Alicia S. Atkins, the first African American and the first woman to be elected as the Varina District representative on the School Board
- Frank J. Thornton, who is beginning his seventh term as the Fairfield District representative to the Board of Supervisors — the most on record for a Fairfield supervisor
- Patricia S. O’Bannon, who is beginning her seventh term as the Tuckahoe District representative to the Board of Supervisors — the most on record for a Tuckahoe supervisor
For his part, School Board member Roscoe D. Cooper III made sure the start of his second term was memorable.
After reciting his oath, Cooper surprised nearly everyone in attendance by dropping to his right knee, presenting a ring and proposing to his girlfriend, Candice Carter. She had joined him and his sons, Christian and Landon, onstage for a photograph.
After a stunned Carter accepted, Cooper slipped the ring on her finger and offered a double thumbs up to the standing, cheering audience.
“Well, congratulations on a number of fronts, Rev. Cooper!” Henrico County Public Schools Superintendent Amy Cashwell said.
The elected officials sworn-in for terms beginning Jan. 1 are:
- Board of Supervisors members Daniel J. Schmitt, Brookland District; Frank J. Thornton, Fairfield District; Thomas M. Branin, Three Chopt District; Patricia S. O’Bannon, Tuckahoe District; and Tyrone E. Nelson, Varina District
- School Board members Kristi B. Kinsella*, Brookland; Roscoe D. Cooper III, Fairfield; Michelle F. Ogburn, Three Chopt; Marcie F. Shea*, Tuckahoe; and Alicia S. Atkins*, Varina
- Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon L. Taylor
- Sheriff Alisa A. Gregory*
- Henricopolis Soil and Water Conservation District Directors Nicole Anderson Ellis, Anne-Marie J. Leake* and Claiborne E. Yarbrough*
* denotes beginning first term