‘I know the city is going to be in good hands,’ Mboka Mwilambwe sworn in as Bloomington Mayor

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — One former Bloomington councilwoman said she is relieved.

“I know the city is going to be in good hands,” said Joni Painter, who served Bloomington’s 5th ward for about 7 years. “All of the newly elected, I am confident, really want to serve the community as a whole.”

She said she stands firmly behind Bloomington’s new mayor, Mboka Mwilambwe.

“Bringing people together? That’s just so important,” Painter said. “I thought that Mboka’s speech was just spot on.”

Saturday morning, May 1, Mwilambwe and five council members were sworn into their offices. The ceremony took place outside the Bloomington Center of Performing Arts.

Mwilambwe replaced Tari Renner as Bloomington’s mayor. Also sworn in was Sheila Montney for Ward Three, Nick Becker for Ward Five, Mollie Ward for Ward Seven, Tom Crumpler for Ward Nine, and incumbent Jamie Mathy for Ward One.

“I am so thankful, so inspired,” Mwilambwe said, “and really looking forward to working with our council members and do great work for Bloomington.”

At the ceremony was Mwilambwe’s family, including his daughter Mariama.

“I’m so proud,” Mariama Mwilambwe said, “and I think that what makes it so great is I’m not the only one who’s proud. Bloomington really came together to support him. And, yeah, we’re all so happy to be here, we had so many supporters.”

Mwilambwe moved to America from the Democratic Republic of the Congo about 30 years ago. One person filmed a Facebook live video of the swearing-in ceremony so Mwilambwe’s family and friends abroad could watch.

“It means a lot for me to do something that can inspire people there,” Mwilambwe said. “They’re looking to America as a place of great hope.”

In a speech concluding the ceremony, Mwilambwe called for unity in the community.

“If I accomplish anything, it would be uniting us. And I spoke about that in my speech.”

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