Most of Selma’s council posts decidedPublished 1:37am Wednesday, August 29, 2012
As the city looks forward to a new set of council members, some members have happily claimed a solid victory while others still await the city’s approval as their vote goes to a runoff.
Ward 2 Selma City Council member Susan Keith earned re-election, pulling in 61 percent of the vote and said she looks forward to serving the citizens of Ward 2 for another four years.
“I’m so honored and proud that the people of Ward 2 have chosen me to represent them again,” Keith said. “I have some things started and some things underway.”
Keith said she would like to expand the Ward’s recycling program as well as expand the beatification program.
“I brought back the beatification program and I think that has really made an impact on the town along with mayor Evan’s program of people being more conscientious about litter and cleanliness in the town,” Keith said.
More than ever, Keith said she is thankful for the opportunity to serve Ward 2 again and continue to move forward
“We have all worked so well together as a council and with the mayor,” Keith added. “I look forward so much to those continued relationships.”
Similar to Keith, Angela Benjamin was also re-elected to serve on city council as Ward 4 representative.
Benjamin said this year’s race was different than the last because it presented more issues and obstacles to overcome.
“We were running against a lot more this time,” Benjamin said. “So this victory right here is very heartfelt and it’s a blessing, we thank God for it.”
Benjamin plans to take Ward 4 “to the next level of excellence” in her term and strive to make it a better place for all who live there.
“Look for some more healthy lifestyle things and look for some more renovations in Ward 4,” Benjamin said. “What we’re trying to do is to get an image of Ward 4 that is built by the citizens of Ward 4.”
Benjamin added that it will be a step-by-step process to achieve what she wants Ward 4 to be saying “there’s always a next level of excellence that you can go to, and we’re striving to get there.”
For Ward 6, the outcome wasn’t as clear-cut. B.L. Tucker won the majority of the vote with 40 percent while Johnnie Leashore took 32 percent, thus forcing the race into a runoff.
Tucker said he will be hitting the streets and getting to work.
“I’m going to take the fire up, higher and higher and higher,” Tucker said. “I have talked with the other candidates who lost and they promised me that they’re going to put their vote behind me and that’s a good deal.”
Leashore said he expected the votes to result in a runoff because there were four candidates in the Ward 6 race.
“It would have been nice to have won without a runoff, but when you have that many people in a race, a runoff is to be expected,” Leashore said.
As for his campaign, Leashore said he believes it is a good one and his platform is strong.
“I think the people of the city of Selma know about my commitment to serve them,” Leashore said. “I’m going to go back in to the Ward and listen to the people.”
Leashore also said he is pleased with the overwhelming amount of citizens that came out to vote this year.
“I’m just very thankful that people are engaged in the electoral process, knowing full well that if they want good leaders it’s going to require them participating,” Leashore said.
Ward 7 saw a close outcome with Bennie Ruth Crenshaw leading with 53 percent of the vote and Leroy Miles following with a close 47 percent.
Although Miles said he would have liked to have won, he supports his Ward and their decision.
“Ms. Crenshaw was just the Ward 7 favorite and I always figured that if the people are satisfied with the way things are then vote the way you’ve been voting,” Miles said.
Miles said he will still stay active in Ward 7 though and support his community.
“Anything I can do to help our Ward, that’s what I want to do,” Miles said. “I want to do some of those same things I said on my platform about Ward meetings and hopefully Ms. Crenshaw will be a good leader and get involved and just work with the city council as a whole.”
Since the vote was close, Miles said he believes the citizens of Ward 7 agreed with some of the points in his platform.
“Only losing by about 67 votes says the community does like some of the things that I wanted to put in place, but the majority of the community liked the way things are,” Miles said.
The Selma Times-Journal was unable to get in contact with Bennie Ruth Crenshaw.
Michael Johnson of Ward 8 pulled out a strong vote over his competitors, winning 68 percent of the vote in a three-person race.
Johnson said he was very grateful for those who voted for him.
“We went out door to door and had a great turnout,” Johnson said of his campaign. “We had all kinds of people, old and young.”
As for his next four years serving on city council, Johnson said he plans to bring business to Ward 8 and address overgrown and abandoned lots.
“We just have to work together with the mayor and the other council members and I think we can make a big change in Ward 8,” Johnson said.
Ward 1 councilmember Cecil Williamson, Greg Bjelke of Ward 3 and Samuel Randolph of Ward 5 all earned re-election back on July 17 as no other citizens ran against them at the end of qualifying.