Two qualify for Demopolis Mayor’s race

Published 11:44 pm Saturday, July 12, 2008

DEMOPOLIS — The first day of qualifying for city elections on Tuesday was productive, with six candidates submitting paperwork, City Clerk Paula Bird confirmed Wednesday.

In the mayoral race, two people have announced their candidacy: Mike Grayson and Cecil P. Williamson. In addition to submitting an intention to run statement, both candidates were required to pay a $50 to the city and submit a statement of economic interest, which is required by the Alabama Ethics Commission to ensure candidates to not present conflicting interests with their finances.

Mayoral Race

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Grayson, a Demopolis business owner, is running for mayor for the second time.

“I have a love for this city and its people,” Grayson said. “I feel like I have some thing to offer in moving the city forward.”

Grayson said his campaign is based on the phrase “One Demopolis First.” Grayson said he embraces the idea of regionalism, but in his opinion the mayor should always be looking at what new developments will mean for the city itself.

Grayson added that he does not consider himself a politician, but rather a citizen who is interested in leadership and government.

“I intend to bring some people together to do some great things,” he said.

Williamson, the incumbent candidate and first-time mayor, said she plans to run for re-election to finish up the work she began when she took office.

“I want to continue to work on the things we’ve started from the last four years,” Williamson said.

Among those projects are working closely with the city and county economic development authority, she said. Another priority is to attract retail development and growth to both the downtown area and the U.S. Highway 80 corridor in order to bring more revenue to the city. Williamson said her goal is to bring growth and development to the city.

“I’ve got a lot more projects to work on,” Williamson said.

Council Races

In the city council races, four people have submitted qualifying paperwork. Two candidates, Thomas O. Moore Sr. and Dexter Jones, will be vying for the district 1 spot. So far, Bill Meador Jr. is the only candidate to qualify for the district 4 spot, as is the case with district 5, where John R. “Jack” Cooley is seeking re-election. No one has qualified for district 2 or 3 positions.

Moore has served four terms with the city council, and said he feels as though he has one more term to see his goals for the city accomplished. Two of his chief concerns are well-paying jobs for citizens and improving infrastructure in his district. Moore has worked to secure grant funds for a major drainage project in the area.

“We have made some progress on that, but I definitely want to see that through,” Moore said.

Another project is seeing fire station # 2 renovated.

“We had hoped to totally rebuild that, but with the downturn in the economy we have to be a little more conservative with funds,” he said.

Moore’s opponent, Dexter Jones, is a native of Demopolis who works as a quality assurance technician for a satellite company.

“The people of district 1 are looking for a change,” Jones said. “And I think I can be that.”

Primary objectives for Jones include working to abate dilapidated houses and properties in his district and also bring in more activities for children.

“We need something else for them to do,” Jones said. “Right now the Sports-Plex is the only option they have.”

Jones said he is committed to investing in more recreational avenues for the children of the city, in part because he has two teenage children of his own.

Bill Meador Jr., who is a Demopolis business owner and serves as the chairman of the Parks and Recreation board for the city, is seeking the district 4 seat, which is currently held by Woody Collins.

“I love Demopolis. I believe in this city and its potential,” Meador said.

Meador said he sees this as an opportunity to step up and be a leader and give back to the community, one which he says is full of assets that need to be preserved and polished.

“Like the incumbent, I plan to put the city’s interests first,” Meador said. “I think we have to go beyond district lines to get things done.”

Cooley is retired and has worked for many years on city events like the Christmas on the River BBQ cook-off. He is serving his first term with the city council and is seeking re-election in district 5.

“I still believe I have something positive to offer in my efforts for the city of Demopolis,” Cooley said.

One of Cooley’s chief concerns is the ability of the next council and mayor to work effectively and work together well while bringing positive things to the city.

“I hope that the new governing body works as a cohesive unit that communicates consistently and frequently with one another all for the betterment of the people and the city,” Cooley said.

The qualifying period will end on July 15.