Incumbent aldermen claim ward victories

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Almost all of the current Brookhaven Board of Aldermen remainsintact after Tuesday’s general election, with all ward incumbentskeeping their seats alongside a new mayor and alderman atlarge.

With Wards One, Two and Three already decided in the May 5primary, Wards Four, Five and Six were all contested in Tuesday’sgeneral election.

Ward Four, which featured a race between incumbent RepublicanShirley Estes and Independent challenger David Smith, was the lastprecinct to report, coming in around midnight. Ironically, in theprimary, Ward Four was the first ward to report.

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Tuesday night’s story was different as Estes defeated Smith inthe largest turnout of any of the wards, with a total of 783 to263. She said the massive move to the polls in Ward Four was anexample of people taking their civic duty seriously.

“I think that’s about people working hard to get the vote out,and taking this seriously in Ward Four,” she said. “Peopleobviously took their civic responsibility seriously. Not only didthe candidates work hard to get the vote out, but a lot of citizensdid that as well.”

Estes, elected to her second full term, said she is grateful toher supporters for all their help in making the campaign asuccess.

“There are so many people who worked hard and who made acommitment to me a long time ago have remained loyal throughout,and I’m so grateful for them,” she said. “I’m proud to have beenelected for four more years – my campaign slogan was ‘Give me fourmore years so I can give you four more years.'”

Incumbent Democrat Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell retains hisseat as well, with a 255-189 win over Republican challengerFletcher Grice. Maxwell, who will begin his second four-year termnext month, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Ward Six went to incumbent Independent David Phillips, whodefeated Democratic Challenger Robert Kenny by a total of 304 to141. Phillips said he felt Kenny was a worthy opponent.

“Mr. Kenny is a good and qualified candidate for his willingnessto put himself out there to serve his community,” Phillips said. “Iwas really pleased with how everything went, and I think thecitizens have sent a strong message for the leadership of thecity.”

Tuesday’s winners will rejoin Aldermen Dorsey Cameron, TerryBates and Mary Wilson, who won May 5 Democratic primary contests inWards One, Two and Three, respectively, on the board.

Mayor-elect Les Bumgarner said the experience on the board willbe a great help to the city.

“It’s really to the advantage of the city to have so muchexperience on the board,” he said. “We should be able to pick upand run with it without a hitch.”

And the smart planning leading up to this point will be apositive, Estes said, especially considering that board members arealready aware of the challenges and obstacles they will face.

“I look forward to us continuing to move Brookhaven forward, andwhile there are some financial constraints because of the economy,we have budgeted conservatively in the past, we’re not in the direstraits some cities are in,” she said. “Credit goes to MayorMassengill and (City Clerk) Mike Jinks for conservative budgetingin that process, and we’re very serious about being conservative,and I think that will continue.”

Phillips agreed.

“The present mayor has done an outstanding job, he’s got a kindof a game plan to move the city forward, I think the board is verywell aware of that plan,” he said. “This gives us the chance tocontinue the improvements and the progress over the last four yearswith the same board.”