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Williamson, Grayson answer questions

The following questions and answers from incumbent Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson and challenger Mike Grayson are from the Aug. 12 candidate forum sponsored by the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce.

Q:Every candidate promotes economic growth for the city, but what are your specific plans?

Williamson: My specific plans involve bringing a workforce development training center to Demopolis, because I believe if we have a cadre of people who are trained in the areas of electricians, plumbing, industrial maintenance and welding, there will be jobs and then there will be economic growth.

Grayson: The answer to the question is jobs and education. That’s what we will, again, will make us stand out from our competitors around the state. As far as what the city can do, all I can tell you is hard work. … You’ve got to build relationships and build positive relationships. After we have jobs, rooftops and storefronts will follow. Until then, we are just going to be recycling.

Q: What is your assessment of the way the city departments (police, fire, streets, horticulture, etc.) operate? And are you proposing any significant changes?

Williamson: I am so honored to have so many people who are willing to work for the city of Demopolis. We have the best department heads that the city has ever had, barring none … every one of them is committed to their task, working within their budget, serving the citizens of Demopolis. Am I proposing any significant changes in the way these departments operate? No.

Grayson: I think they do an excellent job with what they do. My philosophy has always been hire good people and let them do their job. I won’t micromanage these people. Certainly, you inspect what you expect — you don’t turn ‘em loose. … if I can single out the police department, I think they do a great job while being undermanned.

Q for Grayson: Public perception is that you own two businesses in town. How will you be able to complete the mayor’s duties?

Grayson: Let me set that straight real quick — I own an insurance business. My wife owns the Vine & Hoof — and my involvement is occasionally moving boxes. The mayor’s job is full-time, and it comes first.

Q for Williamson: Do you have any regrets in your first term in office?

Williamson: Not really. I can’t think of any off the top of my head. If I have one, it’s that I didn’t spend enough time with my family. The mayor’s job will work you 24/7 if you let it.