Lovelace enters mayor’s race

Published 10:26 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Education and jobs are the central issues voters care about in the upcoming Brewton municipal elections, new mayoral candidate Yank Lovelace said Tuesday.
Lovelace officially announced his campaign Tuesday night, becoming the third person to toss his hat in the ring for Brewton mayor. David Jennings and Frank Nalty are also vying for the seat which will be vacated by retiring Mayor Ted Jennings later this year.
“We need to focus on the next step forward,” Lovelace said. “As mayor of Brewton, my goal will be to have our community prosper by moving forward because in this fast-paced world in which we live I understand that standing still is not an option.”
Lovelace, 60, is president and CEO of The Securance Group, Inc., one of the largest independent insurance agencies in the state with offices in Brewton, Atmore, Montgomery, Birmingham, Troy and Union Springs.
The Brewton native said he launched his campaign via Facebook and youtube on Tuesday night because he wanted to embrace new technology.
“Brewton is a wonderful place,” he said.  “Like most people who live here, I love and appreciate the traditions of our community.  But if we are going to continue to have a vibrant community, we’re going to need strong and not-necessarily-conventional leadership to make that happen.”
In talking to residents, Lovelace said the most important issues for voters are education and jobs.
“The City of Brewton is faced with the same problems that every small southern town is experiencing,” he said. “How do we maintain the enjoyable qualities of small town living, while providing the economic opportunities that support our families? In these difficult economic times, we as a community have to recognize that excellence in education and expanding employment opportunities are the two primary factors that will attract families and additional business to our city.”
Lovelace — who helped found Coastal Gateway Economic Development Authority, a regional economic development group now made up of five counties, said that experience can help him lead the city into the future.
“I know a lot of people, I know a lot of the resources to contact,” he said. “Because of (that involvement) we have a lot more resources to bring to bear.”
Lovelace cited one of the programs Coastal Gateway and the City of Brewton participated in, a Buxton study of the region to determine what kind of businesses the area could attract, as one tool to help attract new jobs. “It’s important to get professionals to help us,” he said.
But in addition to the need to attract new jobs, Lovelace said the city must not ignore existing industry. “That’s one of the things the city has to be involved in,” he said.
Lovelace said he wants to listen to residents and work to build coalitions to improve the community.  “In many ways, this is the perfect time for Brewton,” he said.  “I think our community can pull together to make this a better place.”
Lovelace has been a member of the Brewton Industrial Board and was chairman of the economic development committee of Brewton’s Alabama Community of Excellence program. He is a director of the Bank of Brewton and has served on the vestry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. He is a past director of Southern Normal School and is a graduate of Leadership Alabama.
Lovelace also previously served as president to the Alabama Independent Agents Association, the Brewton Rotary Club, the Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way Fund.
He was named insurer of the year by the Alabama Independent Insurance Agents Association. In 2005 he was named Brewton’s Citizen of the Year by the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Lovelace and his wife, Sally, have four children and one grandchild.
Although qualifying will not begin until July and the election will be held in August, many candidates are kicking off their campaigns early to get name recognition after Ted Jennings announced his retirement last year. According to the probate judge’s office as of Friday, only Lovelace and Nalty have raised at least $1,000 toward their campaigns, which must be reported to the probate judge’s office.