Cox adds name to race for mayor

Published 8:00 pm Sunday, February 17, 2013

The race for Brookhaven mayor is now contested with the entry of Joe Cox.

Cox, owner of a local insurance business, qualified as a Republican candidate Friday afternoon to seek the office of mayor in the upcoming city election.

He joins Rose “Polly” Powell, an independent candidate, in seeking the mayor’s post.

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Incumbent Mayor Les Bumgarner, an independent, is completing his first term but has chosen to forego a re-election campaign.

The Republican candidate said he’s been interested in joining the political process for a while but cited Bumgarner’s absence from the ballot as a motivating factor in his decision to run this year.

“The opportunity arose when the current mayor opted not to run again,” he said. “That left the door open.”

The 58-year old Brookhaven native owns Joe Cox Insurance in Brookhaven. He’s done so 29 years now.

His business experience ranks high on the list of what Cox believes to be his qualifications.

“I deal with the public daily,” he said.

The insurance business has also given him a background moderating between different sides of an issue, the GOP hopeful said.

His priorities for the city include addressing unresolved issues pertaining to the city’s 2007 annexation.

The move took areas adjacent to the Brookhaven within the city limits. Many of those areas remain without city water services.

“I understand that’s a complicated issue that has to be dealt with,” he said. “Funding for this type project has to be looked into.”

He also wants to see a tenant in the Linbrook Business Park, a desire most candidates for city offices have echoed.

Cox pledged he’d seek no higher taxes to advance his goals.

Independent candidate Powell has publicly supported an effort pushing legalized alcohol sales in Brookhaven. Cox offered a more circumspect stance.

“At this point, it looks like they more than likely will have the numbers needed for this to go forward,” he said. “At that point, it goes on the ballot, and you let the people decide.”

The business owner and first-time political candidate also described a history of civic involvement, including volunteer and leadership experience with the chamber of commerce, parent teacher associations, the Boy Scouts and little league baseball.

Cox’s wife, Angie, has been a longtime schoolteacher. The couple has two children.

Candidates may continue to qualify for municipal elections through March 8. Party primaries will occur May 7. If any more Republican candidates enter the race, Cox will face them during the primaries.

As an independent candidate, Powell won’t square off against any GOP or Democratic contenders until the June 4 general election.