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County leaders explain issues

Though just two of the nine men running for Marengo County Commission seats are incumbents, each one of the candidates has already proven himself as a leader in the county.

Three commission seats – Districts 1, 3 and 5 – will be up for grabs in the Democratic primary on June 6. Incumbents Freddie Armstead of District 1 and John Crawford of District 3 stood by their record as they took the floor at Tuesday’s political forum sponsored by the Marengo Chapter of the New South Commission.

After District 1 challengers Mitchell Congress and Willard Williams – both former members of the Demopolis City Council – laid out plans to call on state leaders to help fix Marengo County’s problems, Armstead’s comeback was simple and to-the-point. It’s already happening, he said.

“I know just about everyone on every level of government,” Armstead – a 19 year commission veteran – said.

Economic development, rural healthcare and law enforcement were at the top of all nine candidates’ agendas.

Congress vowed to work with Tombigbee Healthcare Authority CEO Mike Marshall to improve clinical and ambulance coverage in Marengo County’s rural south. Williams stated some of his triumphs as a councilman, like the establishment of Alabama Southern’s Demopolis University Center.

The two candidates for Commission District 3 who attended the forum, Crawford and Rex Vaughn, both spoke of working for what’s best for their districts, but also cooperating with other commissioners to improve the county as a whole.

“As a commissioner, I can work for my district, but to get anything done, we all have to work together.”

Controversy was hard to find.

“My opponents are very good men,” Vaughn said to open his remarks. “I will always keep an open mind. I may not support you, but I’ll keep an open mind about it.”

He vowed to always be “honest and up-front, fair and impartial.”

Charles Moore, the third candidate for District 3, did not attend the forum Tuesday.

Jerry Loftin, J.K. Marlowe and Thomas Rogers are competing for the District 5 seat being vacated by Max Joiner.

-david.goodwin@demopolistimes.com