Attracting business headlines issues in six-person race

By Brandon Evans | Published Wednesday, May 8, 2013

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Although the dust has settled from last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, the race is still on in Rhome.

When voters take to the polls in Saturday’s election, they’ll have a plethora of candidates to choose from.

Six people are running for three city council seats, as incumbents Cole Blanche, Chris Graves and Louis Godfrey are challenged by Charles Pennington, Patti Mitchell and Ronnie Moore.

“We always have an abundance of candidates, which is a good thing,” Pennington said. “Some city councils have to beg people to run. We don’t have that problem here.”

Pennington has served before. After losing a re-election bid two years ago, he’s spent time on the city’s Parks and Recreation Board, which he currently chairs.

Like most of those running, his focus is attracting new businesses to town.

“We have to go out and knock on some doors and get some businesses to come here,” he said. “If we can do that we can continue to improve our city’s infrastructure and services without putting it on the backs of taxpayers.”

Moore, who currently serves as vice-chair on the Parks and Recreation Board, also wants to attract new business. He has also been heavily involved in planning the city’s Pioneer Days festival the past two years.

“We’re going to have to put a package together to show businesses considering moving or expanding here what we can offer,” Moore said. “We also need a Chamber of Commerce. We don’t have one here.

“In my business I’m always calling the local chamber of commerce to see what a city has to offer and learn more about the town.”

Godfrey said people in the community want more growth.

“People want to be able to go buy groceries or shoes without having to drive 30 minutes,” he said. “If our residents have closer access it makes their lives easier and more productive. It also gives the town more revenue so we can do more projects like improving roads.”

“We have to get a master plan in place so we determine where the growth will go and make sure it will be the right kind of growth,” said Graves.

Graves is running for his second straight term on the council.

“Before many new businesses move in here they want our head count to go up,” Graves said. “But it’s going to come. I’m excited to see what happens in the next several years.

“I appreciate any growth that comes into town, but I want to make sure that it benefits the city, and it allows us to keep our country feel.”

Godfrey served on the council from 2005 to 2007 and was involved in several major projects, such as road and water improvements. He said the key was working together.

“There is no place in the council for personal agendas,” Godfrey said. “You are elected by the citizens to do the business of the city.

“You have to gather all the correct information and facts and do your research and be informed. Politics isn’t hard. The whole key is working together.”

Graves said he his confident approaching Saturday’s election, but he just wants more people to hit the polls.

“We get about 12 percent voter turnout, which is more than the state average, but we could get more,” Graves said. “In a town our size about 100 people out of 1,600 decide who gets elected. Whether I win or not, I want to see more people come out and vote.”

Citizens get a chance to exercise their right to vote Saturday until the polls close at 7 p.m. For more information on the election and location contact Rhome City Hall at 940-636-2462.

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