Rita Frealing: First African American and Female Mayor-Elect of Gettysburg

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GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — History has been made in Gettysburg as Rita Frealing is now the first African American and woman to sit as Mayor.

Mayor-Elect Frealing says with the history of Gettysburg, the community has come a long way and the community has molded her into what she is today. She also says being mayor is a way for her to give back.

“I’m happy, and I’m proud and I’m honored and I’m also humble,” Frealing said.

These emotions are just some of the many ways Frealing feels on the frontlines for her community.

“I like going out and talking to people, because my whole thing, the bottom line is you talk, I listen and that’s how you find out what your community needs are or what citizen’s concerns are,” Frealing said.

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The Penn State University graduate says being mayor is something she wanted to do since she was a little girl. Frealing is also no stranger to abc27 News as she was also a former weather and news reporter and she says this taught her how to communicate as she shifted her journey into law school. After graduating she worked for the government for over 20 years.

However, in order to be an advocate for she says it was time to run for mayor where she’s now the first African American and female to hold that title in Gettysburg.

“I’m happy it happened and I know people are calling this a historical moment, yes it is, but that’s only a part of it, we move forward, and we can make more history here in Gettysburg,” Frealing said.

Yet, the path came with its challenges, Frealing says it was a bittersweet campaign after losing her aunt back in Oct. of 2020 then soon after her husband.

She says through it all, perseverance was key and anyone can achieve their goals.

“When somebody tells you no, don’t stop there, you reach down and you figure out how you can do what you want to do because people have told me no before, and I’m like going, okay watch this,” Frealing said.
Another reason why she decided to run for mayor she says was because with everything happening in the country, she says it’s time to unite and heal.

She also says she looks forward to working with many agencies such as police and council members.

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