Lots of time left to file for Municipal Primary

We received copies of the “Qualifying Statement of Intent For a Candidate For Party Nomination For The Office of Alderman” and copies of the same named form for the office of Mayor. All candidates who filed out these forms are filing as Democrats and will vie for their party’s nomination at the Primary Election to be held on May 5, 2009.

As of this date and as far as I can find out, we have two (2) Democrat candidates for Mayor, Incumber Tim Kent and Betsy Hamilton; two (2) Democrat candidates for Ward 2 Alderman, Incumbent Larry N. Sanford and Johnny Anderson; One (1) Democrat Candidate for Ward 3 Alderman, Larry Dykes; One (1) Democrat Candidate for Ward 4 Alderman, Incumbent Bill Tucker; Two (2) Democrat Candidates for Alderman-At-Large, Incumbent Dan Skinner and Daniel Frain; and One (1) Democrat Candidate for Chief of Police, Incumbent David Grisham. According to New Albany City Clerk Ann Neal, the above are all those who have qualified thus far. There seem to be no candidates for Republican Party nomination for any municipal office.

For potential candidates, either Republican or Democrat, the deadline for filing your qualifying statement of intent for your party’s nomination is March 6, 2009. Although it is tradition that most municipal office candidates and office holders are Democrats in New Albany and, indeed in Mississippi, from a voter’s standpoint, the appeal of a candidate for municipal offices should be that of how well this individual can perform the duties required by the office in question by statute and how well this individual can relate to and represent the people who elect him or her.

Voters can ask all these questions, find the answers satisfactory and then, after election, have those successful candidates change spots right before their very eyes. Many would suggest that this is what has happened with the current municipal administration, but just as many would submit they have benefitted from the administration’s adopted “them (the public) against us (the municipal administration.) Wherever you stand, there are a lot of issue upon which to base a candidacy for any and all of these municipal offices. All of the issues that will be discussed over the upcoming months will go to the heart of the matter of real representation of the citizens of New Albany by their elected officials and real responsibility and competence for all of their political appointees.

But first, one must get the party’s nomination as a result of the Primary Election to be held on May 5, 2009. The tradition mentioned before that most candidates and office holders are of the Democrat Party is because with only a one party system, control is easier and the pre-selected candidates always make it out of the primary and, as tradition demonstrates, into office.

I’m pretty sure a potential candidate can go down and file their qualifying statement of intent as an Independent, thus losing the stigma that might or might not be perceived by being identified by either organized political party. The point being, a candidate does not have to affiliate with any organized political philosophy or “power-broker” group in order to run or perhaps to actually win one of the municipal positions that are up for grabs.

While the time is still probably a little early for candidates to make up their minds and file, there is a real urgency for our community that real candidates with real contributions to make to our future to throw their hats in the ring and not allow those who dispense the power from the shadows to control the primaries and ultimately keep us exactly where we are today in terms of non-representative municipal government.

Each voter will make up their minds as to the value of the incumbent or the challenger, using their knowledge that some incumbents who could break the shackles of the “good ‘ole boys, were the makeup of our municipal administration to change, could serve admirably, while other incumbents represent anyone, but themselves. These voters, given real choices, will most certainly decide correctly. Without real choices, we are destined to continue and repeat the past four years without representation.