Houston, Houlka, Woodland and Okolona all had spots for mayor and aldermen up for grabs this spring.
I have always said the one of the things newspapers do best is cover elections. Getting that cute quote from an elected officials makes my day and often the day of our readers. Putting the numbers in front of you in black and white lets our readers try to figure out the political nature of their community as some neighborhoods vote one way and some . . . well a little differently.
And with city elections in Houston wrapping up last week, the summer city election season is winding down.
I was surprised that Tommie Lee Ivy was not re-elected as City Marshal in Okolona this spring.
Tommie Lee has been toting a gun and badge in Okolona for a number of years. He was deeply entrenched in the political makeup of the town and knew who everybody was kin to and how they voted. I really felt he would be around another four years.
I’ve always felt it must be tough to be an elected law enforcement official. You have to arrest people when you are a city marshal and that doesn’t always earn you votes. But if you don’t arrest people that can lose you an election, too.
Mayor Louise Cole fought off challenger Sherman Carouthers to earn a second term as Okolona Mayor.
Cole unsurped Carouthers four years ago as the political winds changed in “The Little City That Does Big Things.” In the business of politics, you have to set your sail and campaign every day because there are those out there who want your job or want it back.
Mary Gates and Regina Pickens are new faces on the Okolona Board of Aldermen, but not new faces to the community. It will be interesting to see what they bring to the table when they takes their seats in July.
The winds of change are blowing through Okolona, I am curious to see the course the new crew takes.
We had Republicans run as professed Republicans in Houston this year!
Yes, who would have ever thought something like that would happen around here.
Oh, we’ve had closet Republicans run for office in these parts for years. They just don’t put themselves down as bona fide GOP candidates on the ballot.
Frank Thomas and Tony Uhiren are obviously Republicans in both their politics and the way they live their lives. I’ve watched them spend city money frugally and vote conservatively on policy issues at board meeting for the past three years. People around here know them much better than I do – and they voted them back in office.
The numbers show people still vote as Democrats in primary elections, but party goes out the door when the final round comes in the general election. That tells me there are a lot of closet GOP members in the voting booths around here, too.
Sadly, party politics has become much more racially oriented in the past eight years. That has fractured the white voting block into older, die-hard Democratic donkeys and a new, younger breed of Mississippi red elephants.
Things didn’t change as much in Houston this year. The incumbent mayor, city marshal and alderman-at-large all won by large margins in the primaries. Republicans easily won their races in the general election.
There are always those nasty letter that circulate every year and some always scream corruption in each election.
I believe voters have decided the ship is headed in the right direction and have asked Houston city leaders to sail on.
There were no elections in the two smaller burgs in our community this spring.
Only five people ran for the aldermen spots in Houlka and Woodland. The mayors were unopposed, too.
That does not mean there wasn’t change on boards in Woodland and Houlka. Dustin Eaton is the new guy in Houlka and Jo Bullard claimed her spot in Woodland.
Neither of these towns is known for a lot of controversy, but those elected to their respective boards say there are still hard decisions to be made at every monthly board meeting.
Being an alderman is not an easy job. You do things that cost you friendships. You go to church or the grocery store and people want to stop you and whine about the road in front of their house. And then there are those businesses and entities who are quick to sue you if something goes wrong.
Houlka pays it’s alderman $43.75 a meeting and Woodland pays a mere $25.
I can’t believe they do it for the money.
And as with most city leaders I have to believe something else prompts them to run for public office.
Maybe they like the title. Maybe they have a pet project they want to see done. Or maybe, just maybe they love their town and are willing to work and make it better.