NEW ALBANY: Kent, Hamilton push their activist agendas

NEW ALBANY – The two candidates in the Democratic runoff for mayor are known entities.
Incumbent Mayor Tim Kent was a police investigator before taking office four years ago and an insurance agent before that.
He’s also been involved in youth sports, and as mayor he helped New Albany land a contract with the Cotton States Baseball League to host college summer-league games this year.
Betsey Hamilton is a former English teacher and real estate agent known for civic involvements including the Union County Historical Society, several long-range planning efforts and others.
Currently she’s the chairman of the GMamp&O Rails-to-Trails District, which is developing a 42-mile recreational trail from New Albany to Houston.
The two candidates ran neck-and-neck in the May 5 primary, each getting about 42 percent of the vote. The winner of Tuesday’s runoff faces independent Jerry Kennamore in the general election on June 2.
Both Kent and Hamilton say they’re activists.
“I try to push the envelope sometimes when I might not should, but I just think you can either sit there with the status quo, or you can push forward and make something happen. That’s probably my biggest weakness,” Kent said.
Kent also envisions extension of Munsford Drive southward and eastward as one of the early legs of an eventual beltway around the city. He advocates replacement of century-old portions of the city’s water system, whose ancient iron pipes often discolor the water and what they touch.
Both of those projects, he hopes, can be accomplished with federal stimulus funds.
Hamilton, who also admits to being forward “only when I’m 99.9 percent I’m right,” said improvement of an already enviable community should begin with setting priorities.
“I think of all the candidates, I’m the only one who has been through the (planning) process, and not only once, but several times,” she said.
“Because of my real estate background I understand what affects property values positively and negatively. The same thing can happen to a small town inner city that happens to bigger cities, but we are small enough now to control how we grow.”

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal