Booker Gainor made history earlier this month when he was sworn in as the first African American mayor of Cairo, Georgia, which is just 30 minutes north of Tallahassee. Gainor is a 27-year-old graduate of Florida A&M University.
Gainor always understood the need for growth in his community. It was while working for a local cable company, CNS, that Gainor came to better understand the common concerns of local citizens. He was inspired to pursue the mayor’s post and resigned his full-time job.
“Going to the homes and having the relationships with people helped me figure out what was plaguing them and what was helping them,” he said.
Cairo has a history of struggling with social and economic differences. Gainor is striving to enhance the economy by bringing these issues to the forefront.
One focus for Gainor is to change policy. He plans to meet with the Chamber of Commerce and City Council members. His intentions are to revise city ordinances and restructure permits for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Additionally, Gainor wants to implement changes to the Board of Education, to increase financial support for advanced local technology.
“My vision is increased growth all the way around, whether it’s in education, economic development, and just the overall living conditions for the citizens of Cairo,” Gainor said.
Gainor is a native of Cairo and a graduate of Cairo High School. With hard work and the support of his family, Gainor earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in business administration from FAMU. Gainor returned to Cairo after graduation to find a job in his field.
Running mate Demario Burton added, “I’ve known Booker for years, we’ve always been friends and promoted together. He’s always had the passion to run for mayor and he always talked about it. I also wanted to run as well, so we collaborated and ran together.
“Its beyond just the political realm. We’ve been good friends for a long time. My expectations for him is to keep Cairo first and keep that drive, momentum, and motivation to make Cairo better and bring more business in the industry,” Burton added.
Evelyn Spradley, Gainor’s grandmother, added, “I am very proud of him. Once he sets his mind to something he doesn’t give up easily. Just to see him have a vision that he had, it kind of inspired me more than it inspired him.”
Many of the citizens of Cairo appear to be excited about the future of their city. Gainor’s platform provides the opportunity to make his mark in the community and to be the change agent the small Georgia city needs.
“I want the ability to be a unifier and have a vision to help everyone in my community to move forward,” Gainor said.