Competiton heats up for 2017 race

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By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor

The face of Madison’s city leadership could be changing this November, as new candidates flood the races to challenge incumbents.

Both Robert Lanier and Kathi Russell, owner of the Madison Tea Room, have qualified with the Morgan County Board of Elections to run for Mayor of Madison against incumbent Fred Perriman.

Perriman is hoping to have a chance to finish what he started here in Madison. “There are quite a few things I’d like to see completed during my next term if reelected,” said Perriman.  “I would like to see restrooms in all city parks, more workable housing units, more recreational activities for our young people, more businesses downtown and creating activities for young people, more businesses downtown, just to name a few. I would also like to see the West Washington Gateway project completed, which our Downtown Development Authority has worked so hard to make happen.”

Robert Lanier decided to run for mayor as “an opportunity to serve Madison” with his background in politics, government, and law enforcement. Lanier is a former police officer who then served as a County Commissioner for 16 years in DeKalb County before getting into the real estate business.

“I feel like I have something to offer to Madison and I look forward to serving if elected,” said Lanier.   

Kathi Russell is running for Madison Mayor on a platform of “change.”

“There is a lot to be done here,” said Russell. “Our campaign is based on change, and that’s really all we are trying to do, I believe all of the people running for office are truly great and wonderful people. We are all reading from the same book but we are just not all on the same page. And I intend to be a voice for change in this city.”

If elected, Russell’s goals for the City of Madison include reducing spending, cutting taxes, instituting term-limits for city boards, rerouting truck traffic out of downtown, and promoting “full transparency and accountability” from city government.

Madison City Councilman Bobby Crawford has elected not to run for reelection. Eric Joyce and Jennie Newton will face-off in the November 7 election for Crawford’s District 2 spot on the council. Eric Joyce, who is currently a member of Madison’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and the Madison-Morgan Conservancy, will focus on the balance between development and historic preservation if elected. Joyce describes himself as “bridge-builder, hoping to find solutions that allow the citizens of Madison to maintain a level of dialog consistent with neighborly values and understanding and trust.”

Jennie Newton, a retiree from Delta Airlines, threw her name in the hat because she wants give back to the community in which she and her family grew up.

“I come from one of the oldest families in Madison,” said Newton. “I am doing this solely out of wanting to contribute to the community. Madison is just too special not to.”

Woody Burriss qualified to run against Councilwoman Chris Hodges for the District 5 spot on the Madison City Council.

Hodges hopes to have the chance to continue service as a councilwoman. “Early on, I knew I wanted to be hands-on and to keep my boots on the ground.  I was determined to roll up my sleeves and do the work—whether it’s neighborhood clean ups, beautification projects, visiting with my constituents in their homes, or patrolling neighborhoods.    I feel like I’ve made good headway, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Burriss could not be reached for comment by press time on Tuesday, August 29. But The Citizen will feature each of the candidates separately in coming issues.

Over in Rutledge, the current mayor, Spencer Knight, has opted not to run for reelection. Bruce Altznauer, currently the Rutledge City councilman for Post 3, is running for Rutledge Mayor unopposed. Councilman Timothy J. Smith, the incumbent, will also being running unopposed to keep this spot for Post 1 in Rutledge.

Two new candidates have are running for the Post 3 slot, Jennifer Buzbee and Brandie Williams Owens.

Keep an eye out in future issues of the Morgan County Citizen for profile on each of the new candidates. Also, you can look forward to a political forum between candidates sponsored by the Morgan County Citizen and Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce on the third Thursday of October.

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