Valley Grande elections nearing

Published 10:55 pm Saturday, August 23, 2008

Valley Grande faces a milestone in its brief history as an incorporated city — it’s second electoral cycle.

The incumbents have had a direct influence on the creation of Dallas County’s newest city, and all are seeking re-election on Tuesday.

There are eight total challengers for all positions, including five city council seats and mayor.

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The following candidates seek election in their respective places when the polls close at 7 p.m.:


Thomas D. “Tom” Lee, 745 County Road 269 — The incumbent mayor lists fire protection for the entire city and public safety among his top priorities. He is a businessman and former educator that believes the city should work with the schools to develop auxiliary funding for special projects.

Terry L. Hughes, 349 County Road 843 — Hughes is concerned about losing businesses inside the city and is committed to developing a plan to improve Valley Grande’s revenue base. He believes the city needs to work with the Sheriff’s department and volunteer fire departments to develop a disaster plan.

Council Place 1

Julie Drinkard, 2552 County road 81 — Drinkard seeks re-election and is against drastic changes that will alter the way the city began almost five years ago — a small, close-knit community where most people know each other.

Marie Middlebrooks, 1992 County Road 16 — A former educator, Middlebrooks is in favor of a comprehensive zoning plan. That, she says, will preserve residential neighborhoods and allow space for new businesses.

Council Place 2

Donna Downs, 6015 Alabama Highway 22 North — Incumbent Downs listed fire protection and maintaining the city’s current contract with the Sheriff’s department for security as her top priorities. She also said the city should invest in the future of its children by creating financial partnerships with area schools.

Ken Melton, 59 County Road 843 — Melton is in favor of ward representation for the city and is pushing for equal representation of all its constituents. He believes that is the best way to ensure fair, accountable government.

Roger Blackmon, 113 Calvin Circle — The challenger is in favor of a city government that will preserve a high quality of life for citizens.

Council Place 3

Elizabeth “Libby” Ezelle, 207 Chris Circle — The incumbent calls herself a community volunteer, not a politician. She is a former educator who is in favor of family-oriented recreation for the Valley Grande area.

James E. “Jimmy” Johnson, 2569 County Road 81 — Johnson said he ran to try to be more involved in the community, and he believes the city’s government should be small.

Council Place 4

Steven F. Neighbors, 692 North Lake Drive — His major concern is education, and he plans to work closely with the mayor to improve schools and public safety.

Gary Crum, 17 Quail Hollow Drive — Crum believes any government should reflect the values of the people it represents and wants to see progressive progress in Valley Grande. He wants to see all segments of the community represented.

Aubrey Smitherman, 130 Country Road 39 — Smitherman grew up in Valley Grande and said he wants to preserve it so his and other children can enjoy it the way he did. He believes it should stay a community where everyone knows everyone else.

Council Place 5

Patsy Moore, 289 County Road 522 — Moore thinks Valley Grande already has a good plan in place for progress, and it can be better with everyone working together.

Jane Edwards, 8369 County Road 37 — Edwards is a businesswoman whose top priorities are the safety of citizens and ensuring that tax dollars go where they will do the most good.