Candidates speak at public forum
Candidates hoping to win a spot in municipal and county elections gathered Tuesday morning to present their platforms as they run for office.
The Coffee and the Candidates event, hosted by the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce, gave candidates in municipal races in Brewton, East Brewton and Riverview an opportunity to introduce themselves to voters and speak briefly on plans to move their communities forward. Candidates vying for a county government position up for grabs in the November election were also a part of the event.
David Jennings, Yank Lovelace and Frank Nalty — all candidates for the office of mayor for Brewton — spoke about what they believe are challenges and hurdles facing the city with ideas on how to overcome those challenges.
“I am running for mayor because I love this city. The issues we are facing here are not unlike the issues facing every other community. The pieces of the puzzle have to move together all at the same time. To be a good leader, you have to be able to motivate and inspire the people around you to do their job and do it well. I will work for the economic future of the community and anything of economic interest — I have an iron in that fire. I want to make the office of the mayor personal between me and the people of this community. I look forward to working with the people of Brewton.
To move our city forward, we need to bring higher paying jobs to this community. The competition for industry and jobs is fierce and we need to compete. We need to step up and bring leaders of big business to Brewton to show them what we have to offer. Our airport is a jewel in our community and I believe it is under utilized. We also need to rethink our industrial park and improve offerings there. It is important to Brewton, East Brewton and Riverview to work to have an I-10/I-65 connector on the east side of our communities. I want to have transparency in government and I’ll put the checkbook online. Our government is an honest government and if there is a problem, let us know. We want to offer a better quality of life in our community and to do that we must bring in new industry.
“Brewton should be leading the region in economic development. We must do a better job and we will be a leader in the region. I was instrumental in establishing monthly meetings of our city school leaders, county school leaders, the president of Jefferson Davis Community College and the president of the Southern Normal campus of Alabama State University to share ideas and resources to move education forward. Without a world-class education system you will not attract world-class industry. Brewton should be a government that’s transparent and responsive to the people at every level. I have lived here long enough to know that when the people of Brewton pull together, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.”
East Brewton mayor’s race
East Brewton’s mayoral candidates each spoke about what they hope to see in the future growth of the city. Incumbent Mayor Terry Clark, Priscilla Ellington and Louis Hinote all hope to see business growth in the coming years.”
“I have lived in East Brewton for 68 years and served 12 years on the city council and have served as mayor for 20 years. During that time we have brought businesses into the community and we need to continue to bring small businesses in to increase our tax revenue. We have built two Little League parks and a Babe Ruth ballpark for more than 300 kids to use each summer. Our goal is to improve life here for our children and people of the community. We have a nice park behind Superfoods that is used everyday by people in our community. Fort Crawford Park is getting better every day with the work of a lot of people in the community. Any Sunday you can go there and see families enjoying the park. Our city has seen our insurance rates lowered from a score of 9 to a 5 as a result of improvements to our fire department. We need to keep moving forward.”
“My first priority is for our children. The juvenile crime rate is on the rise in East Brewton. I would like to see a juvenile center in place to keep kids off the street after school. I want to work toward revitalization of the city and bring new business here. I want to be a voice for the people. I want our police department to step up to the plate and responded to all calls. I am dedicated to the improvement of East Brewton. It is time for a change in East Brewton.”
“I want to see East Brewton grow and will work to find grants to help improve our city sewer system and to find jobs for our people. We are a gateway to the beaches and we need to be booming. I will work to make that happen.
Riverview Mayor Carl Smith addressed the audience with only two candidates for council seats in the town present at the forum.
“I moved to Riverview in 1986 and have served as mayor for 16 years. This is the first time I’ve had to rerun for office. We are blessed to have a good community to live in.”
Melissa Smith Britton Riverview Council Place 2
“I have been affiliated with Riverview for more than 20 years when my father moved here with a vision for the community. I have lived here for three years and have had the chance to love the people of Riverview. Riverview may be small, but we have big dreams. I want to work for Riverview by researching ways to get grants to possibly have our own volunteer fire department, improved police coverage, change some speed limits. I will work to reach out to the Sheriff’s Department and police department for support. I want to see new business in Riverview and I will work to let our name be known and reach out for new business.”
Riverview Council Place 3
“I have lived in Riverview my entire life. I’m a stay-at-home mom and can relate to moms in our community who stay at home and who work. I have volunteered at school and work with the Cub Scouts. I know that I can listen to the people and will help anyone as much as I can. I’m willing to listen to what people say.”
Brewton City Council race
For the seat on the Brewton City Council representing District 1, incumbent councilman Dennis Dunaway and Pat Poole are each hoping to win the position.
“I have served on the Brewton City Council for 12 years and would like to do it for another four years. We will have a new mayor after this election. I believe it is important to have experience on the council so that we can work with the new mayor.”
“I am new to Brewton, but I am not new to politics. I have owned my own business and served as mayor of Evergreen. I believe we have good candidates for mayor here and I can work with any of them. I will look at everything on a business basis and work to be a good steward of your money to see that it is spent wisely.”
Brewton City Council District 3
“I served on the Brewton City School Board for 10 years and was an original member of the YMCA board. I have a passion for Brewton. I want to provide a good quality of life for Brewton and be able to give back what it has given to me and would work to attract new business.”
“I have been in Brewton since 1971 and I know that we are fortunate to be able to have the schools we have here. We are fortunate with the quality of our parks and recreation and our utilities. A lot of small towns don’t have that. I don’t want Brewton to be average. For the last few years, it seems we are teetering toward average. We need to be headed up. We must all work together to make our city better.”
“I want to see our people pull together to pick our city back up. We can work toward a goal to create jobs here and get things for our children to do. My goal is to create jobs and income that would help solve a whole lot of problems.”
“I have worked throughout Brewton for many years as an employee of the postal service. I have seen situations in Brewton and see the needs of our youth and our people. I have not just been in this community; I have been active in the community. If you vote for me, I promise to do my best to make a difference in Brewton. I am the pastor of Peace and Goodwill Church and serve people in that capacity and will do my best to serve the people of this community.”
Brewton City Council District 5
“My goal is to serve the people of District 5 if elected by listening to them and working with the mayor and other council members to the best of my ability.”
“I have a view of what we want this town to be. We have had some beautiful places here that have been taken down. I think the members have been serving the city well, and if elected I will do my best to give my time and effort to better our community. I’ve seen downtown die down and we need to work to build that back up.
East Brewton City Council race Place 3
“I have some great ideas for bringing income into the city and I want to see East Brewton cleaned up. We need to see some buildings with white wash. Clean up doesn’t cost money, but it takes participation. Our kids need a place to keep them occupied. We’ve talked about putting a curfew on them. You can put a curfew on them but you will still have unhappy children. We need to give them a place to go. We won’t always agree on everything, but we can work together.”
East Brewton City Council Place 4
“I am interested in the future of East Brewton and I believe I can bring something to the table. I want to help work to attract new businesses to East Brewton. Not just any business — business that will be here. We don’t want a business that comes in for six months and they’re gone. We need business that is going to be here and help our community grow. We want to look for a business to bring in some competition and be good for the competition. I have pastored four churches in this area and I feel I can listen to the community and work for their best interest.”
Candidates vying for county positions in the November election were also on hand for Tuesday’s morning forum.
Probate Judge race
Incumbent Emilie Mims
“I have worked with people and managed budgets in my postion. The probate judge is a judge for the people. It takes common sense and an amount of compassion in this job. I have those qualities and I have the desire to work with the people of this county. I have been in the probate judge’s position for four and a half years. I am continuing to learn, but I have the knowledge to do my job. The people of this county deserves responsible leadership and I’m asking for your vote.”
“My mother worked in the probate judge office for 40 years. During that time I learned about how our probate courts work. In working in the timber industry with T.R. Miller and in real estate, I gained knowledge of the probate court with regard to deeds and recording. I will be in office non-stop and will be there when you need me. If you know me, you know I am a people person and will be available.”
Circuit Clerk race
“I have owned and operated a business here for 15 years and have been hands-on in every aspect. I belived my engineering background and my business experience have prepared me for the job as circuit clerk. I am a list maker and a note taker. I am chronically organized. The circuit court’s finance sees $275,000 come through the office in a month. Every dollar has to be recived, receipted and distributed to various agencies. I have the ability to work well with others. I believe the most important job of the clerk is to assist citizens on a daily basis.”
John Robert Fountain
“Working as a probation officer has given me the opportunity to serve the citizens of this county. I have had experience with the clerk’s duties since I use the same database as the clerk. Due to budget cuts in the office, there are only nine clerks. I will make it my job to know all the duties of the clerks so the office will run smooth and efficient no matter what the numbers are. If it means working late, I will do that. I will listen, communicate and be a working clerk for Escambia County.”
Escambia County School Board District 2
“I deal with people and prices every day. I know how to best represent the people. I currently serve as president of the Men’s Ministry organization at First United Methodist Church. I see no division in our schools in regard to education. I believe every district needs a strong voice. I will not walk on eggshells of political correctness but I will uphold ideals that have made America great. I want to ensure that our children receive a sound education to prepare them for the workforce and for the future. It is our duty to prepare our children for their future.”