DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Summer McWhorter Summerford was sworn in as DeKalb County’s first female district attorney on Friday.

Summerford, who previously served as the area’s deputy district attorney for five years, will oversee the 9th Judicial Circuit, covering DeKalb and Cherokee counties.

“Being the first [woman] is not something I talked a lot about,” she explained. “I figured that each person is called to do what they are called to do whether they are man or woman, and it works out the way it’s supposed to, and you prove yourself.”

Before taking over, Summerford had to win the job first.

She defeated former Rainsville Mayor Nick Jones with nearly 70% of the vote in last year’s Republican primary, becoming the circuit’s first elected district attorney in nearly 70 years. Summerford replaces Mike O’Dell, who was appointed to the job in 1996 by Governor Fob James. He did not seek re-election.

“I have a good foundation moving forward, not only for me but for my assistants and my investigators,” Summerford explained. “We’re excited and ready to get to work for people in the 9th circuit.”

Summerford told News 19 both counties have been ravaged by substance abuse. According to records, nearly every piece of legislation related to methamphetamines originated in the 9th circuit district attorney’s office. 

“Substance abuse is the number one issue — but at the same time those who are causing havoc in their communities and will not accept help, it is up to us to punish them and try to keep from them when they don’t want to accept the help,” Summerford explained. 

More history will be made when Jennifer Bray is sworn in as Marshall County’s first female district attorney on January 20. Bray won without a general election opponent.