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Political spring shaping up as a lively season

The field is set, and the starting volley has been fired. Candidates are off and running, as municipal elections around the area finalized their slates of hopefuls with Friday’s 5 p.m. qualifying deadline.

In Brookhaven, this year’s election is made even more exciting because two top incumbents did not seek re-election. With Mayor Les Bumgarner and Police Chief Arlustra “Pap” Henderson both retiring, the city will definitely see two new faces in office this year.

Ward Five also is destined to have a new alderman, since incumbent Alderman D.W. Maxwell has thrown his hat into the race for mayor.

Adding even more interest to this year’s city politics will be a vote on a local option liquor referendum, which will appear on the June 4 general election ballot. Debate among our citizenry over the referendum already is getting under way, and three letters to the editor on the issue appear on today’s editorial page.

Voters should also be aware that if the referendum passes, the candidates they elect to serve on the new Board of Aldermen will make the decisions on what kind of ordinance is written to govern liquor sales in the city. Such an ordinance could be framed to allow by-the-drink liquor sales and liquor stores, or only by-the-drink sales in restaurants.

No matter how you look at the issues before us, Brookhaven’s political spring is shaping up to be a lively one.

The candidates are:

Mayor: Joe Cox, Republican; D.W. Maxwell, independent; Joe Poole, Democrat; Rose “Polly” Powell, independent; David Douglas Smith, Democrat.

Police Chief: Bobby Bell, Democrat; Ted Goleman, Republican; Larry Warren, Democrat.

City Clerk: Mike Jinks (incumbent), Republican; Maxine McCoy Jones, Democrat.

Alderman at Large: Carl Aycock, Republican; Andre’ Spiller, Democrat; Karen Sullivan (incumbent), Republican; Ed Thompson, independent.

Ward One: Randy Belcher, Democrat; Robert Berry, Democrat; Dorsey Cameron (incumbent), Democrat; Christopher Harris, Democrat; Kermit Sartin, Democrat.

Ward Two: Terry Bates (incumbent), Democrat.

Ward Three: Ramon Johnson, Democrat; Lennie Lewis-Bracey, Democrat; Mary Wilson (incumbent), Democrat.

Ward Four: Shirley Estes, (incumbent), Republican; Danny Keene, Republican.

Ward Five: Martha Arrington, Republican; Fletcher Grice, Republican.

Ward Six: Mackie Gipson, Democrat; David McCoy, Democrat; David Phillips (incumbent), independent.

Party primaries will be held May 7 with runoffs, if necessary, on May 21. Party nominees and independents will square off in the general election June 4.

If you live in the city and haven’t registered to vote yet, take time now to do so. Also, spend some time in the coming months learning about the candidates and finding out where they stand on the issues that are important to you.

Then, be sure you make it to the polls on election day. You won’t want to miss your chance to have your voice heard.

And feel free in the meantime to write us a letter to the editor to share your views on the city’s future and let the candidates know where you stand, too. Participation is what democracy is all about.