Vice retains top post in Linden

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 15, 2004

LINDEN – Pat Vice was all smiles Tuesday night after gaining a narrow victory over challenger Kathryn Friday in the city’s mayoral election.

“It was a little bit closer than I would have liked,” Vice said after the count. “But one vote would have been enough.”

Vice defeated Friday by just 67 votes in an election that generated a little more than 50 percent voter turnout. He received 443 votes to Friday’s 376 with only 66 absentee ballots cast in the election.

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In a post-election phone call home to his wife, Vice said, “I won by 67 votes, and now they’re calling me ‘landslide’.”

He ended his phone call with more of his ever-present humor saying, “I love you, too, and I better go now, I’ve got a few more women to kiss”.

Friday probably wasn’t among the kissees, but was at city hall to congratulate Vice.

“You know I’ll do whatever I can do to help – I will,” she told Vice. “I’m glad I don’t have to go campaign tomorrow.”

Vice, who’s spent 20 years in city service, said his reelection reward will come in making Linden a better place.

“We’re in for another four years – I hope it’s progressive,” he said.

That vision for progressiveness includes recreational facilities, continued improvement and support of local schools, city infrastructure and economic development, he said.

“Probably my top priority is to continue to develop recreational facilities for young people,” he said, noting the need for soccer fields to be located in a single location.

“Of course, industrial and economic development [is important]. We need to fill the stores – the empty buildings – with businesses and try to get new businesses and industries in and get occupation for those standing on the street wanting a job,” he said.

The transition from candidate to mayor, however, was a short one.

Standing at his desk at city hall he said, “Now we’ve got to turn our attention to emergency services (for Hurricane Ivan) and make sure we do all we can for those who can’t help themselves. We’ll be there for them”.

Fifteen minutes after his short victory celebration Mayor Vice was back on the job at the regular Linden City Council meeting.

– Guy Ferrell contributed to this report.