Ward Three attracts new candidate

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, February 10, 2013

     The son of a former alderman has become the second candidate seeking to challenge Ward Three incumbent Mary Wilson.

     Ramon Johnson qualified as a Democratic candidate last week, joining fellow Democratic challenger Lennie Lewis-Bracey.

     Both will face the incumbent Wilson, also a Democrat, in party primaries scheduled for May 7.

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     The latest alderman-hopeful seeks to follow in the footsteps of his late father, Clarence Johnson, who served eight years as Ward Three’s alderman.

     “I thought I would give it a try,” the younger Johnson said in an interview last week. “I’m looking for something rewarding.”

     The 52-year old worked with Entergy as an engineer 14 years and then 10 years as a research assistant at Alcorn State University.

     Drawing on more recent experience as a substitute teacher, Johnson wants to see more mentoring programs in the city aimed at the teenage population.

     He also wants to see the city enact discounts in city utility fees for elderly residents, something he said he’s seen other municipalities offer. His background working in industrial technology will allow him to help cut costs and make the city more efficient, Johnson said.

     Increased economic activity also tops his wish list for the city. Johnson called for attractive incentives to bring industry into the area and increase local jobs.

     The newest candidate hopes his experience will prove to voters he’s qualified for the job, but also that newness to city government will prove a selling points with residents.

     “I’ll bring a fresh perspective to things,” he said.

     That fresh perspective, though, is one informed by the experience and example set by his father, Johnson said.

     “Whenever someone called him, he would always go to help,” Johnson said, describing what he feels he learned from his father. “No matter when it was.”

     The Ward Three incumbent Mary Wilson has served two full terms in office.

     Johnson and fellow Ward Three challenger Lewis-Bracey have never sought elected office before.

     The newest alderman candidate even said he’s a bit surprised that he’s stepped into the electoral ring this year.

     Ward Three has become the second alderman race to attract three candidates. In Ward One, incumbent Dorsey Cameron and challengers Randy Belcher and Kermit Sartin are vying for the post.

     However, elsewhere in the city, Ward Two has no candidates yet. Incumbent Terry Bates has thus far declined to discuss whether he’ll seek re-election.

     Incumbents David Phillips of Ward Six and D.W. Maxwell of Ward Five have also not discussed whether they will seek re-election.

     Candidates have until March 8 to qualify.