By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – Voters decisively picked Republican Rex Smith to lead Saltillo through the next four years as mayor.
Smith took 61 percent of the vote in defeating Saltillo Police Chief Steve Brooks, the Democratic nominee, 629 to 399. He’ll replace outgoing two-term Mayor Bill Williams, who is moving to Huntsville, Ala.
Verona voted out incumbent Mayor Bobby Williams in favor of Robert Trice and Guntown voters chose Gary E. “Bud” Herring.
Gloria Holland in Plantersville was the only Lee County incumbent mayor re-elected Tuesday.
Candidates in Verona, Guntown and Plantersville all ran as independents.
For the next month, Saltillo winner Smith, a land surveyor and former Lee County surveyor, said he will learn as much as he can about his new job before taking office July 1.
“I was humbled by the vote before (in the primary), but this even more so,” Smith said. “The people have shown in me a confidence that I now have to prove. I’ve talked the talk and now I have to get out there and show we meant what we said and go to work for Saltillo.”
Smith will serve with an experienced board. All four currently serving board members, Democrats Jewell Webb and Terry Glidewell and Republicans Brad Woodcock and Scott Knight were re-elected. Republican Donald Cullum was elected to replace Mitchell Brazeal, who resigned recently.
“I’m going to spend some time with the board individually to see what their hopes and dreams are and get with the current mayor and let him show me some ropes,” Smith said. “On July 1, I want to learn everything I can about what I can do and what I can’t do and then get out and start recruiting businesses and talk to the folks who live here to see what their desires are.”
Nineteen affidavit ballots were cast in Saltillo and will be tallied and added to the total Wednesday but will not change the outcome of the race.
Robert Trice took 58 percent of Verona votes Tuesday, beating incumbent Mayor Bobby Williams in his bid for a fourth term.
Trice said he’s happy Verona’s residents will get to see a change.
He said there has to be a healing process after any election and he wants everyone to work together to move Verona forward.
“We have got to make our city attractive so that people will want to come into our city,” said Trice, a former Verona police officer and firefighter who will become the city’s first black mayor. “We have to change the image, it’s a great city, but we have to make it friendly, clean and safe. Those are the first things I’ll work to do. It’s going to be hard work but I know we can do it.”
All Verona aldermen ran unopposed and won their re-election bids.
Fifty-seven affidavit ballots were cast in Verona and will be tallied and added to the total Wednesday but will not change the outcome of the race.
Gary E. “Bud” Herring said he is anxious to move into the mayor’s office in Guntown after a long campaign to replace incumbent Robert Herring, who didn’t seek re-election.
“It seems like a long campaign since the first of the year, and it was a good campaign,” he said. “My opponent ran a good race and I’m humbled by the vote and anxious to go to work.”
Herring, who is retiring from the post office this month, said he will spend most of June seeking advice.
“I’m going to get with the city clerk tomorrow and start discussing things with the elected board and get advice from people who’ve been there,” he said. “I want to talk with the board and get their ideas and maybe mix some of mine in there. I know we have to start working on the budget pretty soon and we have some veteran aldermen coming back and I’ll follow their lead right now.”
The city’s next class of aldermen will be Brent “Squirrel” Lindsey, Chad McMahan, incumbent Greg Caigle, incumbent Jeff Herring, incumbent Petey J. Hopkins.
Twenty-three affidavit ballots were cast in Guntown and will be counted and added to the totals this morning but won’t change the outcome.
Incumbent Mayor Gloria Holland will begin her third term as Plantersville mayor in July after her victory over Harold Arrington.
Holland, who took 72 percent of the vote, said she is excited to continue serving as mayor.
“I’m very appreciative to the voters who voted me in for a third term and my goal is to continue with the slow and steady progress we’ve made and will continue to make,” Holland said. “Plantersville is a town that works together.”
All four of the current board members running won re-election.
Incumbent Sextus Shannon, incumbent Renee Morrison, Charles Heard, incumbent Vicki Rigby, and incumbent Ketrick Marion will make up Plantersville’s Board of Aldermen after July 1.
Mayor Ben Logan was re-elected without opposition in Sherman.
Randy Bolen, Wayne Bullock, Todd McDonald, Martha Swindle and Mike Swords won alderman posts.