Mayoral candidates get day before Rotarians

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 19, 2004

Continuing its forum of candidates for city offices, the Rotary Club of Demopolis opened the floor to mayoral candidates Ed Key, Mike Grayson and Mitchell Congress at the meeting Wednesday.

Key said his decision to run for mayor didn’t come easily. When he realized the biggest reason for not running “was my fear of public speaking,” he decided to overcome his fear.

Key promised to be an “approachable” mayor and to help city employees realize “all city operations will run smoother when everyone understands we work for you.”

He said he would stand behind the employees and work with each department head to create a positive change. While he would make suggestions, “my intention is not to micromanage.”

Through his office he would encourage young people to take a greater role in the city, work for orderly growth, focus on the Tombigbee River development and make Demopolis a destination for travelers.

In answer to a question, he said the biggest asset Demopolis has other than its people is the excellent school system, the river, the diversity of its people and “the way we come together to get things done.”

“This election is nothing more than leadership,” said Grayson. Reviewing his background, he said he has the qualifications, experience and proven abilities to handle the job of mayor.

He promised to be a mayor “for all the people.” His job would be to “supervise the supervisors.” His has experience in budgeting and selling an organization, qualifications he can call on as mayor.

Grayson also reviewed his platform, dubbed TIGER, for transportation, infrastructure, grants, education, river front and safety.

A mayor cannot get U.S. Highways 80 and 43 four-laned by himself, but he promised to “keep the pressure on” so that Demopolis will be in the forefront of highway construction.

He has shed a lot of his duties in area organizations to devote to the job, he continued. The day after the primary, he would be mayor, be in the runoff or “looking for another project”

Grayson said he won’t sling any mud to tear down other candidates. He only said he believes he is the best qualified candidate in a crowded field.

Pointing to various members of the Rotary Club, Congress said they are the ones “who have carried the baton” to make Demopolis what it is. He asked to be able to continue to carry that baton.

Congress also dreams of a conference center, a subdivision with affordable housing, extending the sewage system, hiring a grant writer and building a rehabilitation center for drug abusers.

He praised the Demopolis public school system, calling it “second to none.” Working with city department heads, he would develop plans to “improve what now exists.”