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Bringing the city together

Neither Edie Jones nor Jim Stallings are particularly attached to their titles.

They believe their contribution to the election of George Evans is a result of that humility.

As campaign co-chairs for Evans, the duo had a weighty responsibility for the last several months.

But as supporters of the successful candidate in the August mayoral race for the city, the two never saw themselves as any more vital than the few hundred volunteers and few thousand more supporters.

“George got himself elected, we just assisted him. But we weren’t the only ones,” Jones said. “Our role was no more important than anybody else’s. Everybody had a different role to play; we just had a title. There were a lot of people doing things I could not do and that were tailor made for things Jim could not do. Everybody had their niche.”

Evans said his selection of his co-chairs took time. He chaired campaign meetings initially until it became evident to him who best showed the ability to lead.

Even before he took office, Evans wanted everything he did to represent the best interest of the city.

“He ran a very clean campaign; he stressed that at every meeting,” Stallings said. “No mudslinging. He reminded us if he caught anyone doing that he would put them out of the campaign.”

The decision to select two people did not come about by chance.

With his campaign slogan of “Building New Bridges” in mind, Evans intended all along to choose campaign leadership that represented a cross section of the community and give them equal responsibility.

Stallings, a retired educator and former city superintendent of general services, and Jones, who has worked for the Chamber of Commerce, made themselves readily available.

“I selected them because they were the ones that I felt had the best personality as far as working with everybody,” Evans said. “Prior to my nominating them, they were active in a lot of things. They seemed to work well together.”

Evans and Stallings met in 1960 as coaches at Tipton High School and have been colleagues and friends since.

Jones and Evans met in the late 1980s through various city functions and have grown closer in the last 12 years, the mayor-elect said.

Jones and Stallings knew each other several years before they were chosen for their roles in the campaign. They said they pledged their support long before Evans announced his decision to run for mayor.

“I knew he was a good man, and I also knew if I didn’t my wife would kill me,” Stallings said.

Both of Evans’ campaign chairs are part of an advisory committee that he plans on meeting with on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

He said he will count on the committee to represent the ideas and needs of Selma’s constituents throughout his term in office.

The work of every person in the campaign, whether directly or indirectly, was a continual focal point. Whether answering phones, beating the streets or anything else, Jones and Stallings readily heaped praise on the people behind the scenes.

Each job was tailored around every person’s individual talents.

Some of them never even made it into the office.

“There were people that maybe couldn’t do a lot of other things, but they could sit at home and pray,” Jones said. “They could get with another person and pray. Those prayer warriors were just as important; they were maybe more important. Everybody’s going to continue to have a role with the new government in progress. Those roles are just going to change some.

“We hope the attitude will continue to be one of cooperation and unity and desire for what’s best for our town, to move forward” Jones said.