Chester County Commissioner John Welch was elected as the first African American on the Chester County Commission in August of 2006 and has been serving the community since.
Then, Tierra Thaxton joined him on the board from 2010 to 2014 as the first black woman on the commission.
Thaxton explained how Welch was a mentor for her.
“Mr. John Welch’s commitment to government was simply outstanding.
He graciously took me under his wing and shared knowledgeable information to keep me abreast of county business. He was an excellent mentor,” Thaxton said.
When asked about his experiences on the commission, Welch said he was just like one of the other commissioners.
“Wherever I’ve gone, I haven’t had any trouble with anybody. They didn’t treat me any different,” he said.
Thaxton said it was an honor to serve on the commission.
“My experience traveling throughout Tennessee was indeed a beautiful situation. The citizens of Chester County entrusted me with the knowledge and expertise to lead judiciously.”
In regards to her experiences, Thaxton said “There were a few tough decisions that had to be made to ensure that the county would continue to thrive financially. Yes, I encountered personal risk and danger during contentious meetings. However, as a governing body of the county, all business was resolved expeditiously.”
Thaxton hopes her ability to serve on the county commission is a light and inspiration for young African American girls.
“It was an honor to serve as the first African American woman on the Chester County Commission. In the role of a Commissioner, I hope that my courage and determination to serve was honorable and an inspiration for all young African American girls along with others regardless of their nationality,” she said. “They have the potential to pursue their dreams until they reach their goals in life without limiting themselves to the status quo and/or breaking through the glass ceiling.”
It did not stop there though. She encourages all young women to strive for their goals.
“I want to charge every young woman to be a positive influence in her community and never limit their goals regardless of race, creed or color.
The sky is only the beginning of what you can accomplish with your life, so ‘Go Be Great!’”