On Tuesday evening, November 17, 2020, Athens-Clarke County District 6 Commissioner Jesse Houle was sworn in at City Hall in downtown Athens. Houle won the special election on November 3 to fill the remainder of former Commissioner Jerry NeSmith’s term after a contentious election and will continue to serve District 6 next year. NeSmith died suddenly in June only three days before the primary election, and in October, the Georgia Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Clarke County Superior Court to void all votes for NeSmith, resulting in Houle’s default victory. 

A longtime Athens resident, Houle was officiated by Probate Court Judge Susan Tateand joined during the process by their partner, Megan Westbrook. Friends and family watched as Houle was sworn in, and Houle asked for a moment of silence for NeSmith. “Weird time to have a swearing-in,” Houle said before the ceremony, as COVID-19 safety precautions were kept in place throughout.