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Diallo sworn in as Lathrop council member
lathrop swearing in
Minnie “Cotton” Diallo – a lifelong Lathrop resident – was sworn in as the newest member of the Lathrop City Council during a special session Friday night.

The Lathrop City Council officially has its newest member.

During a special meeting on Friday the Lathrop City Council formally accepted the results of the 2020 general election and welcomed Minnie “Cotton” Diallo – who had run unsuccessfully for a seat on the council multiple times before – to the dais to serve a community that her family has been a part of generations.

Diallo, a graduate of East Union High School and the granddaughter of Reverend Maurice Cotton – for whom the street the family’s longtime church is name – was all smiles beneath her mask as she raised her hand and repeated the oath of office in front of a small group of onlookers inside of the council chambers at Lathrop City Hall.

“I just want to say that I’m more than joyed and I first want to give honor to God for letting this take place,” Diallo said in her first remarks after being sworn in. “I’m so happy to join the team and this is a long time coming – I ran a couple of times before but this time it was different because I was able to cross all borders and reach out to the community and not just the community I knew.

“I’m thankful to all of those that made this happen – family and friends – and I’m excited to join the team.”

Diallo received 5,184 votes during the election cycle for 35.05 percent of the overall vote – less than one hundred votes behind leading vote-getter Jennifer Torres-O’Callaghan who received 5,216 votes for 35.27 percent of the vote.

After being elected in 2018 to serve the remainder of an unexpired term Torres-O’Callaghan will now represent the council for her first four-year term alongside Diallo.

The meeting also marked the final public meeting of councilwoman Martha Salcedo who decided earlier this year not to seek reelection after 14 years on the board that oversees the growing community.

While she received well-wishes from her fellow council members – one of whom, Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal, she served with for more than a decade – it was City Manager Steve Salvatore that captured her essence in his remarks before the oath of office was administered to the incoming council.

“I don’t know a council without you – I came here 13 years ago, and you were already here,” Salvatore said. “And we’ve made a lot of good decisions for the city and it’s been really great to work with you.

“Every council member should try to be like you because you are a top-notch, class act.”

Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal – who has been involved in Lathrop politics for nearly two decades – was also sworn in on Friday to a record fifth term at the helm of the city.

Dhaliwal was appointed to the council in 2006 and was reelected to a full-term on the council in 2010 and served in that capacity before he challenged entrepreneur Joseph “Chaka” Santos in 2012 – roundly defeating him to take the mayoral chair.

Friday’s special meeting was broadcast over the city’s website and through Cisco’s WebEx meeting platform to provide the community an opportunity to observe the proceedings. It was also broadcast on Comcast Channel 97 to Lathrop residents.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.