I made it a point to chat with several of the candidates who were in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday’s sunny morning in Decatur. I didn’t get to talk to all of the candidates who were there before the parade started but following are some bits and pieces of information I learned and some observations about their candidacies.
• Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe, who is running for re-election, seemed in great spirits when I talked with her as she and her campaign supporters were getting the pick-up truck ready to move into the parade. She gave me a campaign cupholder and told me: “This is for your V8!” Julie also told me that it is difficult to do phone polling to determine how a candidate is doing in a race because so many people have caller ID and, if they see the call is coming from a polling company, they won’t answer the call.
• Mayoral candidate and present City Councilman David Horn told me that he had just made his 3,000th telephone call to local residents to talk to them about his candidacy and how they felt about the city. Wow! That has to be a record for a local race! David has been going all out to win and move from a city council seat to the mayor’s chair.
• City Council Candidate Rodney Walker had a huge contingent to walk, or should I use the word “dribble” because kids were dribbing basketballs on the parade route. Rodney also had some miniature basketballs to pass out with his name on them as a candidate for the council. That was an effective idea considering his continuing athletic connection to Decatur which has given him great name recognition. Rodney is an extremely personable guy and I enjoyed chatting with him about his many years of community work in Decatur. He also seemed excited about giving back even more to the community through running for and, if elected, serving on the Decatur City Council.
• City Council Candidate Marty Watkins also had a lot of supporters in the parade and it was hard to miss their bright green shirts. Marty told me that he continues to work hard to win election in his second attempt to become a city councilman in the April 2th election. His name is everywhere in the media and he is another candidate that has run an aggressive campaign.
• City Council Candidate John Phillips, Jr. told me that he feels all of the candidates are good people and well-qualified to serve if elected. He told me that he didn’t have a lot of money to spend on the campaign but he is taking advantage of the public forums and free media coverage opportunities. He also said that he would like to see one more debate (either at the civic center or library) before election day.
• City Council Candidate Shelith Hansbro was full of enthusiasm as she prepared to start the parade alongside her supporters. Shelith has always had a strong presence in our community. I like what she posted on her Facebook Page a few days ago: “I have a servant’s heart. I want people to know that I’m in this race because I’m committed to this community. If Decatur elects me to city council, they’re going to get someone who listens and makes informed decisions.”
• Present Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe, David J. Horn and Jacob Jenkins are the candidates for mayor this time around. In the race for three city council seats that are up for election, Shavon R. Francis, Marty Watkins, Shelith Hansbro, Lisa Gregory, Bill Faber, John Phillips Jr. and Rodney Walker are the candidates. Gregory and Faber are the incumbents running for re-election to retain their seats. Next week, in our last edition before the April 2 election, I’ll give you some impressions and observations about the candidates based on their public comments and some personal conversations.
• GO GREEN! Also before Saturday’s parade I saw Decatur School Board candidate Regan Lewis with her supporters and her St. Patrick’s Day green-colored signs. (Well, the lettering was green). Actually, she told me that it was a coincidence because she chose green lettering for the signs when she began her campaign and didn’t have St. Patrick’s Day in mind — but it worked out perfectly. Andrew W. Taylor, another candidate for the Decatur School Board was getting ready next to Lewis’ supporters and had blue printing on his campaign signs. Do we have any “blue” holidays for his signs? Taylor and Lewis are strong candidates for the school board.
In addition to Lewis and Taylor, the candidates for three positions on the Decatur School Board are: Dan Oakes (incumbent), and Leara F. Evans.
Paul Osborne joins Brian Byers for City Hall Insider hour on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at from 7:00 until 8:00.