Open city seat up for grabs
Published 2:00 am Saturday, August 18, 2012
The race to fill the Brewton City Council seat representing District 3 has seen the most candidates vying for the position.
The seat currently held by Cary Barton came up for grabs for political newcomers when Barton announced he would not seek re-election.
Four candidates have thrown their hat into the politcal ring hoping to serve the people in district three.
The Brewton Standard posed three questions to the candidates, asking what they believe are the toughest issues their respective districts and the city face and how they would approach them; what is their vision for the city; and what experience they bring to the position.
Brewton District 3
Littles is joining the race hoping to win a city on the Brewton City Council representing District 3. He said he hopes to be a part of protecting the assets of the city.
“I see Brewton as a town where history, hospitality and natural beauty come together to form a community that is proud of its past and excited about its future,” Littles said. “The mayor and city council recognize Brewton’s future prosperity depends on protecting these assets through encouraging residents and welcoming visitors to become integral participants in Brewton’s unique community.”
With plans in mind to keep Brewton moving forward, Littles said he plans to work hard for the city.
“We will continue to develop a viable downtown business district, supplemented in outlying areas by quality shopping centers and a diverse industrial mix that will translate into job opportunities and an expanded tax base,” Littles said. “I have a plan to continue to develop and enhance public water access and outdoor activities, supplemented by a variety of recreational and cultural activities throughout the community for residents and visitors. We need to have a sound, stable infrastructure that meets the needs of citizens, business and industries. Such infrastructure includes well-maintained streets, a clean and reliable water supply, clean and reliable wastewater treatment and a reliable electrical distribution. Our city also needs a municipal government that works in collaboration with citizens and other governments to plan for and respond to citizen needs, and provide timely, efficient, effective and consumer-friendly services. We need to pursue appropriate, sustainable opportunities to grow our population, and be a home for young families and retirees while maintaining a strong sense of small-town values and citizen involvement. The city will preserve and promote its historic resources and unique downtown, and focus on community attractiveness. The City will strive to support access to affordable, high quality medical and health care. We also need to create an adequate and sustainable annual budget that insures uninterrupted delivery of public safety, fire and other quality services to our citizens and to have a sound, stable fiscal reserve to meet unanticipated needs and emergencies. We need to promote regional economic development efforts through partnerships with other government and non-government agencies.”
Littles said he sees challenges throughout the city including business and industry presence.
“We have a lack of downtown based business and industry clusters,” Littles said. “To change that we will continue to work with the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission and Community Development agencies to attract businesses and industry to the downtown area. We are still transitioning from an economy based on traditional industry to an increasingly globalized economy based on knowledge, information, and technology. We will work with the Community Develop-ment Agency and Jefferson Davis Community College to look to establishing an entrepreneurial incubator to foster small businesses; work with JDCC to train citizens unemployed or underemployed to fill jobs in demand in this new economy environment. We are also faced with the need for creation of good paying jobs. To see this improve, we need to promote regional economic development efforts with the Southern Alabama Regional Planning Commission throughout the region.”
Littles also said there are physical challenges that need to be addressed.
“We continue to see sewage problems,” Little said. “We must continue to upgrade drainage system improvements. We see dilapidated housing is still a problem and street paving. To improve these conditions we must continue to review and upgrade minimum housing and other nuisance codes and emphasize aggressive enforcement; continue to review and upgrade minimum street paving and sidewalks. We also need to make sure we are keeping the city and its citizens safe, and free of drugs and violence. We all need to continue to fight drugs and crime in the city, and to work with the City of Brewton Police Department and support our law enforcement officers as they rid our streets of drugs and the other unsavory behavior that would pose a problem and destroy our way of life. We still face a lack of recreation and social activities for our youth and seniors. The City of Brewton and community partners would offer a variety of recreational activities and programs for both children and adults. Most of these activities and programs would take place at our old Middle School and the old Country Club..”
Littles brings experience to the table in the form of community involvement, community service and serving on boards of various groups throughout the community.
“I have served on the Brewton City Board of Education and also have experience serving on the Brewton YMCA board,” Littles said. “My 10 years of experience on the Brewton City Board of Education, and having a brother, sister, and two daughters who are educators, strengthens my knowledge and commitment to providing a quality education to all of our children. As an active member of the Brewton Sportsman Club, I am committed to its goal of raising funds to award deserving student scholarships. I was a staunch supporter for building the new middle school. It is a state of the art facility that will certainly enhance learning opportunities for our young people. I am an original board member of the Brewton YMCA and I have an understanding of the need for our young people to engage in wholesome out of school opportunities in the community that will foster character building and enhance their creative, social, civic, and physical development.”
McKenzie said the district he hopes to serve is faced with a variety of issues. With ideas to repair street and drainage issues, he also sees a need for a community center.
“District 3 has many streets and drains that are in need of repair,” McKenzie said. “The old Brewton Middle School can be an excellent senior citizen and youth center for all citizens of Brewton. Brewton needs a gathering place for seniors and youth to engage in many good activities.”
McKenzie said he has a vision to encourage industry and business growth in the community in an effort to keep our town attractive for working adults.
“Brewton needs to actually recruit businesses and manufacturing plants to offer jobs for its citizens,” McKenzie said. “Too many young people are leaving Brewton to seek employment. We need jobs to grow our tax revenue. In four years, it is my priority to have new jobs and revenue for Brewton.”
McKenzie said his education and life experiences have put him in a position to serve the district, and the city, well.
“I feel I am qualified to sit on the city council,” McKenzie said. “I hold a bachelors degree with honors from Troy University. I have spent most of my life in the construction and maintenance industry.”
A newcomer to the political arena, Redmon says he is ready to face challenges in the district and for the city.
“One of the major challenges we have right now is that we need more industry wanting to come to Brewton,” Redmon said. “It’s not coming to us. We have to reach out and do all we can to get them to locate in Brewton. We will visit other cities in our area and see what they are doing. I hope to find out a way for us to be get some of the major industries that may be coming from larger places.”
Redmon said he has a vision of seeing Brewton’s economy improve.
“I want to help bring the economy back up,” Redmon said. “We need to get real estate back up and bring housing back into line with our growth. We need more affordable housing and we need to work on the infrastructure of the city and use as much as we can of grants that are available.”
Redmon worked at CSX for 27 years and said he is fully qualified to run for this office on the city council.
“I have worked and worked in several places,” Redmon said. “I was with CSX for 27 years serving as project manager on multiple projects, from start to completion. Part of the time I was working with equipment maintenance. I am a lifetime member of Second Saint Siloam Missionary Baptist Church here in Brewton. I served as treasurer and helped balance the budget for eight years.”
Watson said one of the challenges facing the city is fairness — a challenge he hopes to meet head on.
“Fairness or equality to all citizens seems to be the greatest challenge,” Watson said. “Being honest, fiar and visible for the people is how I will begin facing those challenges.”
Watson said he hopes to see his vision of growth for the city evolve during the next four years.
“I believe the city should make iteself presentable and attractive to larger businesses coming into the city to attract jobs,” Watson said. “With more jobs, you can create more activities because you will have more revenue. The time that it would take to get to that point depends on the unity of the citizens of the city.”
Watson has already established himself as a leader by serving as a pastor, father, husband and member of the community.
“I am already in a ldeadership position,” Watson said. “As a pastor, I am called to lead people. When you know how to love, listen nd lead, progress will follow. Honesty, fairness and equality are the key elements to good leadership.”
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for voting on Aug. 28.