Hildale's first female mayor sworn in

ABC News 4, Utah/January 4, 2018

By Lauren Matthias

Hildale, Utah -- A small southern Utah town - known for it's polygamous roots and FLDS faithful - welcomed in its first female mayor.

"All across America they have been sending me messages", said Hildale Mayor Donia Jessop.

Thursday could be one for the town's history books.

"Almost a little breathtaking sometimes. I think, yes, I can do this," said Jessop.

Jessop was sworn in on Thursday. She was elected in November, beating incumbent Philip Barlow by nearly 40 votes.

The campaign wasn't always friendly, and Jessop said many still voice the opposition to her election.

"I know they believe I'm there to tear down, I get it, but I'll have to show through my works I'm there to build up," said Jessop.

Jessop, once FLDS herself, said she feels honored to serve the city she loves and said she'll work hard to represent every faith. She said her FLDS mother gave her some advice she says she'll take as she serves.

"I called my mom and invited her today and she didn't know if she could make it, but she did give me a message. She said: 'Just remember your principles, and you'll always do well. I was taught to be a good person and that's who I am, and I know I am,' " said Jessop.

Jessop said she is going to work hard to improve HIldale's water system, as well as Hildale's internet and cell service.

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