Next month Bessemer voters will return to the polls to elect the next mayor and city council and school board.
There is a big grumble among the masses about the local officials, and many are calling for a clean sweep, at least among the races for council and mayor.
This is not the year for incumbency. The entire Jefferson County Commission will be new. Incumbents in state and national legislative positions are in trouble.
Let's bring it on down to the local level.
There are only 4 city council members seeking re-election. Two others are trying to unseat the mayor and one is poised to become a county commissioner.
Only 2 of the 7 school board seats are being contested.
And there are 6 candidates for mayor.
The Progressive Voice of Bessemer has about decided who the best candidates are to lead us into the next decade. These will be announced shortly. In the meantime, join our new facebook group, Progressive Bessemer Coalition. After you join, start a discussion or post a comment on the wall. And invite your friends that want to see some change in our city.
Oh, and about our endorsements. They are based on a candidate's progressive platforms, their level of education, and their response to the pressing issues rather than on money given to the group, old friendships, pay backs and expectations.
And remember, candidates, especially those for mayor, these are the things that you need to be concerned about.
Candidates for council should be concerned about historic preservation and restoration of neighborhoods, ability to work with the business community, "plays well with others" (ability for the council and mayor to behave like grownups), community garden support, finding a way to build a rec center for teens and seniors, respect for retirees, and other issues.
Here are the candidates:
Mayor: Louise Alexander (current city council), Donald Ballard, Darayl Blue, Dorothy Davidson (current city council), Kenneth Gulley, Edward May (current mayor). These candidates are also known as Lu Lu, Don, D.M., Dot, Ken and Ed.
City Council District 1: Ronnie Johnson, Temike Reasor, Robert A. Thomas, David Vance
City Council District 2: Albert Grant, Chester Porter, Sherrina V. Rice
City Council District 3: Sarah Wallace Belcher (incumbent), Jessie Burrell
City Council District 4: Ralph Hodge, Donna Thigpen
City Council District 5: Ron Marshall, Albert Soles (incumbent), Robert Dale White
City Council District 6: Jesse Matthews (incumbent), Edward E. May II, Dock Scott
City Council District 7: Earl J. Cochran Sr (incumbent), LaBrenda Marshall Jones, Cleo King
Board of Education District 1: Vera M. Eades (incumbent)
Board of Education District 2: Earlean B. Cochran, Lester S. Mulligan Sr., Janet A. Ruffin
Board of Education District 3: Renna Soles Scott (incumbent)
Board of Education District 4: Samuel Morris (incumbent)
Board of Education District 5: Darlene Perkins (incumbent)
Board of Education District 6: Christine Knight (incumbent)
Board of Education District 7: Hattie J. Aikerson (incumbent), Elvira Kidd, Wanda Faye Thomas, Carolyn Wilson Hudson
I ran into current school board member Bessie Pippens (District 2) at the grocery store yesterday. Ms. Pippens has been a prominent figure around the Bessemer political scene for a long time and I believe she was the first female city councilor. She will not be running for school board this election as she has other priorities that must be tended to. I am sure the school board will miss her cool-headedness and her leadership.
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