Latonia Hines sworn in as newest member of Smyrna City Council

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Jul. 15—The Smyrna City Council has a new member.

Latonia Hines, an attorney and prosecutor who works as executive assistant district attorney in the office of Cobb District Attorney Flynn Broady, was sworn in as the Smyrna City Council member for Ward 2 during a ceremony held at Smyrna City Hall Thursday evening, with Hines's friends, family and campaign staffers in attendance. Other Smyrna city officials, including Mayor Derek Norton, were also present.

The program for the ceremony was prepared by Hines, with Norton offering opening remarks. Cobb County State Court Judge Bridgette Campbell administered the oath to Hines.

Hines filled the council seat made vacant in February when then-Councilman Austin Wagner resigned to take a job in the administration of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens.

While council members are usually sworn in at the same time, Hines was sworn in alone because she is filling Wagner's seat to complete the rest of his term.

Hines defeated Natalie Keng, CEO and founder of food company Global Hearth, in a June runoff for the open seat. Hines and Keng advanced to the runoff after the first round of voting on May 24, when Hines finished first with 31.5% and Keng came second with 27.6%.

While the final vote tally after the runoff gave Hines a victory over Keng of 203 votes to 188 votes, an election audit by the Cobb County Board of Elections gave Hines a final count of 201 votes to Keng's 188 votes. Cobb elections director Janine Eveler said the difference between the two tallies was likely a result of elections staff failing to pull all of the ballots from early and absentee voting for the audit.

In remarks delivered at the ceremony, Hines thanked other women, such as Cobb Commission Chairwoman Lisa Cupid, for blazing a path in local government leadership for her to follow.

"Ten years ago, I wouldn't have thought that I could do this today," Hines said, "and I have so many wonderful women role models that I have seen come into these spaces and let me know that it is possible."

Smyrna City Council members serve four-year terms. Hines will finish Wagner's term that began in 2020. Should Hines choose to run again, she will be up for reelection in November 2023. The other six Smyrna City Council seats will also be up for election in November 2023.