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Jemison candidates speak in forum

Eight candidates for the City of Jemison’s municipal election participated in a public forum last night at Jemison High School.

The school’s Student Government Association hosted the forum, which allowed each candidate present to share his vision for the city’s future.

Mayoral candidates Brian “Bucky” Jackson and Incumbent Eddie Reed both addressed the issues of city leadership, future growth, funding for more city programs, and other issues.

Candidates for City Council who were present included: Raybon Ellison (District 1), George Brasher (District 1), Danny Robinson (District 2), Steve Howard (District 2), Robert Morris (District 3) and Sam Reed (District 5).

An estimated 100 people were in attendance for the forum. The following is a brief overview of what each mayoral candidate shared with the citizens:

Jackson

Brian “Bucky” Jackson emphasized responding to citizens’ needs quickly and sufficiently. He identified some of these needs as infrastructure maintenance and strict enforcement of traffic laws.

Another key issue for Jackson was the loss of tax revenue to cities in neighboring counties that currently offer more retail opportunities than Jemison.

“What I want to look for is, ‘Why do people leave Jemison to go shop?’” he said.

Creating a strong tax base and providing more job opportunities to the citizens were goals he outlined in his address.

Jackson stressed open communication with schools and school administrators, and the funding of additional programs for youth as well as people of all ages.

“Our schools are a reflection of our whole city,” he said.

Jackson indicated he wants to create a proactive plan to develop infrastructure and to focus on growing business along the north end of town, as the City of Calera continues to annex into Chilton County.

He encouraged citizens to support local businesses and maintain good relationships with local business people.

“Business owners here deserve our business,” he said.

Jackson said there are two things he looks for in people: trustworthiness and commitment to excellence. He concluded by assuring citizens that he possesses those two qualities.

Reed

Incumbent Mayor Eddie Reed said he wants to keep working toward “planned, controlled growth of the city” by the Jemison Planning Commission and the Birmingham Regional Planning Commission.

He said he would continue to hold public meetings for the purpose of hearing citizens’ input on how they would like to see the city progress.

“By working together, we can keep our small town atmosphere while encouraging well planned residential and economic development,” Reed said.

Helping to keep the city attractive by enforcing litter control and property maintenance is another big goal of Reed’s, as is paving city streets as additional funding becomes available.

He said he wants to continue the progress made in fire, rescue, police protection and animal control while demanding professionalism from all city employees and department heads.

Simultaneously working to protect family businesses and attract other commodities is yet another objective of the mayoral incumbent.

“We will maintain the contacts in Washington, D.C. that this administration has made with our elected officials,” Reed continued.

The city is currently awaiting a $5,500,000 appropriation for its wastewater treatment plant, which will allow more areas of the city to receive sewer service, he added.

Reed concluded his address by stressing continued fiscal responsibility of the city’s budget.

The forum was moderated by SGA members Taylor Ellison and Haley Pate. Also recognized were Principal Allen Thompson and SGA sponsor Robin Gray. Also, members of the Jemison High School Blue Regiment Marching Band played the national anthem at the beginning of the forum.

–Scott Mims can be contacted at scott.mims@clantonadvertiser.com.