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Williston mayor for 16 years is saying goodbye

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For the first time in 16 years, the City of Williston has a new mayor.

Jerry Robinson was sworn in as the new mayor Tuesday night while predecessor Gerald Hethcoat is headed to retirement.

“There comes a time and you know it’s the time, and it’s my time, I need to step aside,” says Hethcoat.

Hethcoat moved from east Tennessee to Williston almost 45 years ago to work at Williston Hospital as a medical lab administrator. One day, when he had a complaint, he went to a city meeting to resolve it-- and saw a council member be rude to the mayor.

“I just didn’t like that, I didn’t think that was necessary, so I said ‘well I’m going to run for this council and we’re going to change some of this,’” says Hethcoat.

And he did, with no political background, he ran for mayor-- and won.

And continued to win.

“If you talk to the people, you know what they need and what their needs are,” says Hethcoat. “You can’t do everything, but you can at least represent the people, and that’s what I tried to do.”

Hethcoat made it a mission to know everyone in Willison, and eventually met the man who would take his place.

“The first person who came in my driveway when I moved down here was Gerald,” says Robinson.

And tonight, was Hethcoats last night.

“He’s a real blessing to his community and to all of us,” says Dunellon Mayor, Walter Green.

Although he’s no longer mayor, he’s not going far.

“I know I’m going to miss it, but me and a couple of friends who served on the council, we may be sitting in the backrow, you don’t know what’ll happen yet,” says Hethcoat.

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