County mayor's race has started

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Marshall County's next election is nine months away and already there's a race for county mayor and four of 18 county commissioners say they don't plan to run for re-election.

County Commissioner Scottie Poarch is challenging Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett in the Aug. 5 county election and therefore can't run for re-election as commissioner. Commissioners Larry McKnight, Richard Medley and Billy Spivey say they'll probably step down from the commission.

Meanwhile, the Marshall County Election Commission was scheduled to convene at 9 a.m. today with business to be announced.

Petition forms will be available for candidates in the Aug. 5 races as early at Jan. 4 - two months from now.

Noon on April 1 is the deadline for candidates to file petitions with the Election Commission to have their names printed on the prepared ballot for the county election.

April 1 at 12 noon is also the deadline for candidates to name a campaign treasurer, although it must be earlier if a candidate either accepts or spends money on their campaign.

"I'm running for mayor," Poarch confirmed late last month as that intention had been indicated previously. "I think I'll do a great job as mayor. I'm a hustler and I believe in progress. It's one of those things you grow up with. I've always wanted to run for something like that.

During his campaign for his commission seat, Poarch told voters he'd work to change county rules on mobile homes. That's been accomplished.

"I'm the kind of community leader who's a man of his word," Poarch said.

"I believe I can bring the municipalities together - sit in the middle and listen and bring them together," he said. "Our No. 1 thing is getting the governor to bring jobs here."

Poarch said he would have a more formal announcement later.

Now working in the job Poarch wants is Liggett who said it's his "intention" to run for re-election.

"We're never satisfied with where we're at," the incumbent said. "We always want to improve our community.

"We've been through some trying times," Liggett continued about his track record that includes administrative matters to develop a flood map, growth plan and the inter-local agreement for economic and community development as required by the state.

"They are things that the commissioners and myself have had to deal with," he said.

Liggett took a dramatic step a couple of years ago when he vetoed the commission's approval of the expansion of Cedar Ridge Landfill, so he was asked about the facility that's still awaiting state approval.

"I've tried to represent the county on that and be open minded on things and dealing with that as well," he replied.

"There are several things we've worked hard on," Liggett said citing applications to "get more money in here for things like housing - things that we wouldn't have had" without his participation.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is one he named. LIHEAP provides money for eligible households' power bills.

"Marshall County ranks second on that," he said of acquisition of federal funding through the state "because of the efforts through the county mayor's office and Linda (Mulliniks, his secretary,) helping on that.

"We've gone through another housing grant and that's almost over with," Liggett said.

"And that's just the tip of the iceberg," he said. "Anything I do, it's not self centered. It's for the betterment of where we live."

As for the three other commissioners who probably won't be on the Aug. 5 ballott:

* Larry McKnight explained that when he was campaigning more than three years ago, "I said I'd be a one-termer and that's it."

Long work hours in Nashville are another motive to withdraw from serving on the commission, he said. McKnight has fought Nashville traffic to get to committee meetings

* Richard Medley said, "I'm not planning on running" for re-election.

He cited "time constraints" that are different now, "I didn't know I'd have a 2-year-old when I ran last time, but I can't say 100 percent that my life won't change.

"At this moment I don't plan on running again."

* Billy Spivey said he's not running for re-election as a commissioner.

He's explained that he could be preoccupied with other pursuits and he's refrained from publicly announcing them.

Spivey is the chairman of the county commission. He succeeded Commissioner Mary Ann Neill who at different times during the past couple of years has said in open conversation that she doesn't know whether she'll run again.