Thigpen appointed to Greenville city council

Published 5:18 pm Monday, September 18, 2017

Boris Thigpen was appointed to fill the vacant Greenville City Council seat of longtime councilman Jeddo Bell, who died on July 5 at the age of 76.

The Greenville native, who will represent District 5, was sworn in at Greenville City Hall during Tuesday evening’s city council meeting.

“I really love Greenville,” Thigpen said. “I’m a product of Greenville, and I’m really concerned with the well being of the city. 

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“And I think it’s truly and honor and a blessing to represent District 5.  I’m really looking forward with the other councilmembers, and to see the city of Greenville continue to blossom.”

Thigpen needs little introduction to most Greenville residents.  Thigpen was a prominent athlete in the Camellia City as a youth, and a graduate of Greenville High School.

The husband and father of three works at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) in Montgomery.

Thigpen said that, rather than approaching the Greenville City Council about the position or the council approaching him, it was a mutual meeting of the two.

“One of the community leaders came to me to gauge my interest in politics,” Thigpen said. “Both he and I thought it would be a great idea and an inspiration to the younger black males in the community, just to show them that there is a different way and hopefully open up a whole new demographic.

“For them to see me in this leadership position, I hope that it would encourage other younger males to get involved with government.”

In addition to the extra pressure to become a role model for several young men here in Greenville, Thigpen said that there was a second, perhaps more potent source of weight on his shoulders considering his predecessor.

Bell served the Greenville community as a councilmember for 21 years, and he was elected to his fifth term as a representative of District 5 in 2016.

He served in various capacities during his time on the city council, including serving as Mayor Pro-Tem from 2003 until earlier this year, when health issues forced him to step down.

“It’s very intimidating for several reasons,” he added. “It’s a totally new environment for me, and also knowing that I’m replacing Jeddo Bell and knowing what he meant to this community means there are really big shoes to fill. 

“And it’s so cliché to say that, but Mr. Bell did have a big personality.  Once you met him, he just drew you right in.  I know he’ll be missed.  I know I won’t be Mr. Bell, but I’ll be the best Boris I can be.”

Thigpen said that his first priority as a newly-appointed councilmember was to listen and learn before taking action.

“I have no immediate goals right now,” he said. “It’s just early on for me, so I’m just trying to get in and learn as much as I can at this moment.”