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Five set to run for council
To fill two open seats in November election
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Five people have been certified as official candidates for two Martinsville City Council seats up for grabs in the Nov. 4 election, and a sixth may be certified today.
On Tuesday, which was the filing deadline, Tim Martin of Mulberry Road and Jennifer Bowles of Roundabout Road submitted paperwork to run for council, and city voter registration officials certified them.
Certification means their names will appear on the ballot.
The paperwork had to include petitions signed by at least 125 people registered to vote in Martinsville. City Registrar Cindy Barbour verified that Martin and Bowles met the requirement.
Tony Millner, 73, of Jones Street, a bail bondsman, also submitted his candidacy paperwork on Tuesday. Due to time constraints, Barbour said, she could not make sure all of Millner’s paperwork is in order. She said she will determine today whether he will be a certified candidate.
Martin and Bowles join Gene Teague of Hunting Ridge Road, John McCraw of Meadowview Lane and Ural Harris of Stuart Street as certified candidates.
The seats up for grabs are ones now held by incumbent Teague, the current vice mayor, and Kim Adkins, who is the mayor. Adkins has said she would not seek a second four-year term on the council because she aims to run for the 20th District state Senate seat in 2015.
Martin, 54, is president of Fred Martin & Associates, which he described as a retail/wholesale sales business.
Although this is Martin’s first bid for public office, he has spent nearly two decades as a member of the Martinsville Planning Commission.
Martin was on the commission for 12 years, then he spent several years off the panel before the council reappointed him, and he has since served about eight years. He has been the panel’s chairman for the past three years.
His latest term will expire June 30. The council recently reappointed him. He said he will resign from the commission if he is elected to the council.
Asked what he would like to accomplish if he becomes a councilman, Martin said he has no specific agenda. However, he said he would like to use his experience as a businessman to help improve city finances.
He does not necessarily think the city has not been spending its funds wisely, he emphasized, noting that serving on the planning commission has enabled him to become familiar with city operations.
But due to local economic constraints, Martin said, “we’re in critical financial times ... dire straits, so to speak.”
“I want to help work out better ways to spend money so it benefits more people,” he said.
The latest effort by the city to legally take on town status to save money ended in December after a majority of council members voted against it. Martin said that he is not in favor of “reversion.”
“I don’t want us to go backward in order to go forward,” he said.
Ultimately, Martin said, he decided to run for a council seat now because “I love my hometown.”
The Martinsville Bulletin was unable to try to reach Bowles for comment Tuesday night.
Teague, director of business planning for VF Sportswear, is in his 17th year on the council. He served from 1994 to 2004 and again from 2008 to the present. He also is a former mayor.
Both McCraw, a retired educator, and Harris, a retired furniture worker, are political newcomers.