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Fifth candidate joins mayor’s race

With the deadline for candidate qualifying looming, a fifth candidate for mayor has entered the race and pledged that, if elected, his tenure in the city’s top office will be focused on the poor and hungry of the city.

Joe Poole qualified Thursday afternoon as a Democrat candidate, joining an expanding slate of candidates.

Other mayoral candidates include Joe Cox, a Republican; David Douglas Smith, a Democrat; D.W. Maxwell, an independent; and Rose “Polly” Powell, an independent.

If another Republican candidate doesn’t enter the race, then Cox, Maxwell and Powell will all vie against the winner of the Democratic primary, either Poole or Smith.

Poole’s campaign looks to be shaping up a little differently from his opponents. Rather than discussing annexation infrastructure or economic development, he said the sight of the many “hungry families” in Brookhaven prompted him to enter the race.

“I’m tired of seeing people starve,” Poole said. “No one’s looking for any handouts, but it’s hard to make ends meet.”

In reading about the candidacy of his opponents in the race, Poole said he was dissatisfied.

“No one said anything about the elderly,” Poole said. “That’s a big deal for me. The children and the elderly.”

The city is headed in the wrong direction in some ways, Poole believes.

“Why would we do everything except help those people?” He said.

Specifically, he believes city leaders have focused too much attention on business interests and not enough on the people of Brookhaven, particularly the less financially successful in the city.

He called for several initiates to mend this oversight. As mayor, he said he’s push for community gardens grown on city land and advocate for the city to partially fund area food banks.

“I would challenge the food banks: If they go half, I would help them feed Lincoln County,” he said.

The Democratic hopeful praised the work of churches and food banks but said they can’t do it all.

He also wants to hire approximately 12 people as city employees whose job would be to check on the city’s elderly population and help those elderly citizens with any tasks or chores as needed.

Poole acknowledged he’d probably clash with aldermen over some of his ideas.

The 43-year old Poole served as a Brookhaven Police Department officer from about 2005 until 2006 and has worked restoring furniture since then.

Candidates may continue qualifying until 5 p.m. today.