Two elementary schools were directly impacted by a massive tornado in the Oklahoma City area on Monday. It brings to mind a storm from a 1996 tornado which destroyed the Allardt Elementary School in Fentress County.More >>
Two elementary schools were directly impacted by a massive tornado in the Oklahoma City area on Monday. It brings to mind a storm from a 1996 tornado which destroyed the Allardt Elementary School in Fentress County. More >>
CLINTON (WATE) - Voters in Anderson County are choosing a new county mayor in this round of elections.
At stake is a special two-year term that opened when longtime Mayor Rex Lynch resigned in January 2011 after being indicted on sales tax fraud. Interim Mayor Myron Iwanski is not running to keep the job.
The election gives voters a chance to bring new blood into the office, but neither of these candidates has run for public office. The special election will mark more than a decade that voters won't be voting for an incumbent.
"Any time you have that situation, it means it's an important election," said Warren Gooch (D), Anderson County Mayoral candidate.
Gooch is running as a Democrat who ran unopposed in the primary election. He's hoping his message of more open, responsive and efficient county government will resonate with voters.
"People are just ready to have people who ready to have someone work for them full-time, just hard-work, no more drama," Gooch said.
"The middle class in this country is being squeezed, that comes right down to here in Anderson County," said Terry Frank (R), Anderson County Mayoral candidate.
Republican Terry Frank is a local business owner, part-time blogger and radio host, engaged and opinionated, as she describes herself. If elected, she wants to control spending and tackle the county's debt load. She said she can bring a different approach to the mayor's office.
"It's kind of like a football team, we don't have to beat up on the old coach, or criticize the old plays. I just want to come in, change up the strategy, try something new, respect the taxpayer, give them service they deserve," said Frank.
A big issue on the mind of county residents is the 16.3 cent property tax increase the commission passed in 2011. Because of that, both candidates agree they're not ready to raise taxes again.
"That's still on people's minds. I pledged that I will not raise taxes, because it makes us non-competitive in terms of trying to bring in new business investment, new residents," said Gooch.
"People are taxed enough already. We've got to get that in-line, we're taxing ourselves out of business," Frank said.
The elected mayor will oversee a budget of around $105 million. The winner of the August 2 special election for county mayor will serve until the next general election in August 2014.
Other races in Anderson County include a special election for an 8th District County Commission seat. Mayor Iwanski is seeking his former seat, running against Buzz Patrick, who was appointed after Iwanski was named interim county mayor. Two candidates are running for the county's property assessor's race.