Though her late husband had served on the borough council, Betty Copeland never thought of running for office, until earlier this year when she was talked into running for mayor of Bridgeville, at age 83.
On Nov. 7, she won: the first Black, the first woman, and the first octogenarian elected to the office.
“The Democratic committee approached me saying, with all my years of volunteer work, they thought I’d be a great goodwill ambassador, so I ran,” Copeland told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview.
“I never thought it would be a reality—they’d never vote for a woman, let alone an African American woman—but then, election night the incumbent mayor called me and said, ‘Hello, mayor-elect.’ It’s incredible.”
Since her win, Copeland said she has been “inundated” with cards, flowers, celebratory calls and Facebook messages from across the country—many from total strangers.
Apparently, the “Bridgeville loves Betty” campaign slogan extended further than its creator Democratic Committeewoman Deb Colosimo imagined—and she couldn’t be happier.
“You have no idea,” said Colosimo. “I haven’t stopped smiling since Tuesday night,” she said. “We’re all so proud of her. She’s been quietly doing good deeds behind the scenes for years. She’s well respected and she’s a woman of faith. No one has ever touched my heart like her. She won on her goodness.”