Wilmot Collins

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Wilmot Collins
Wilmot Collins Interviewed by VOA in 2017.jpg
40th Mayor of Helena
Assumed office
January 2018 (2018-January)
Preceded byJames E. Smith
Personal details
Born (1963-10-15) October 15, 1963 (age 55)
Monrovia, Liberia
Maddie Muna Collins (m. 1991)
ResidenceHelena, Montana
Alma materUniversity of Liberia (B.A.)
Troy University (M.S.H.R.D.)

Wilmot Collins (born October 15, 1963) is a Liberian-born American politician and the current mayor of Helena, Montana.[1] He defeated four-term incumbent mayor James E. Smith in the 2017 mayoral election on November 7, 2017 with 51% of the vote. This victory made him the first black person to be elected the mayor of any city in the history of Montana since statehood.[2][note 1]


Collins fled his native Liberia for Helena in 1994, as a refugee from the First Liberian Civil War.[5] He had petitioned for refugee status to join his wife, who had moved to Montana two years before he did.[3] He subsequently became a United States citizen, and worked for the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, specializing in child protection.[2] For over two decades, he was a member of the United States Navy Reserve. Collins has two children with his wife, their daughter, Jaymie and their son, Bliss. Wilmot Collins is first cousins with Helene Cooper, Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times.[6][7]


Video from Voice of America News pursuant to Collins' election in 2017.
  1. ^ In 1873, pre-statehood Montana elected the first black mayor of any city in the territory of Montana with the election of E. T. Johnson, a black barber from Washington, D.C. Johnson's victory occurred before Montana had become a state or Helena had been officially incorporated as a city.[3][4]


  1. ^ Plank, Thomas. "Mayor-elect Wilmot Collins keeps focus on Helena as election gets national buzz". Helena Independent Record. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  2. ^ a b "Liberian-American candidate becomes first black mayor in Montana". NY Daily News. 2017-11-08. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  3. ^ a b McLaughlin, Kathleen (2017-11-09). "Montana's first African-American mayor, once a refugee, says US offered 'second chance'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  4. ^ "Will Helena's Wilmot Collins be Montana's first black mayor? Not exactly, historians say". Helena Independent Record. 2017-11-08. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  5. ^ Fisher, Don (2016-03-14). "Resettled Liberian Civil War refugee shares experiences at Missoula forum". KXLH. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  6. ^ Tackett, Michael; Gabriel, Trip; Eligon, John (2017-11-08). "A Year After Trump, Women and Minorities Give Groundbreaking Wins to Democrats". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  7. ^ Dopoe, Robin (2017-11-09). "Liberian-American Elected Montana's 'First Black Mayor'". Liberian Observer. Retrieved 2018-01-15.