Paula Dance Becomes First Black Female Sheriff In North Carolina's History

She is also the fifth Black woman to be a sheriff in the entire nation.

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| December 06 2018,

6:17 pm

For the first time in the state's history, North Carolina will have a Black female sheriff.

Paula Dance was sworn in as the new Pitt County sheriff Monday in front of family and friends, reports WITN. The 28-year law enforcement veteran won a tight race against former North Carolina state trooper Gary Weaver last month. 

Her victory was among scores of other Democratic candidates in what political experts called "the blue wave." Not only is she the first Black woman in the state to be elected sheriff, but she is also one of five Black women sheriffs in the nation.

According to WUNC, Dance joins other Black sheriffs elected in the state. The midterms welcomed a group of black sheriffs in Buncombe, Cumberland, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Pitt and Wake counties.

President Donald Trump's ascendency to the White House loomed over this year's election cycle. Marcus Bass, executive director of Advance Carolina, told WUNC the midterms was a referendum of the 2016 presidential election. 

"What we saw in 2016 was a rejection of an upward trajectory of African-Americans participating in representation in the form of a president," said Bass. "The direct result in that — and the backlash that transpired after 2016 — caused a lot of individuals to pay attention to elections on a yearly basis."

Through his organization, he has worked diligently to get Black and brown voters to the polls. Federal agencies like ICE have overtaken many of those counties mentioned above. This inspired voters to fight back. The electorate is younger and more socially conscious, and these victories reflect that. 

"If you look at the results of young voters, and the increase of young voters particularly young voters of color since 2008, we have seen an uptick …  Young people are engaged in every single election, not just presidential years."

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