Three candidates running for two seats on Lewisburg council

Friday, February 27, 2015

By Karen Hall

Editor

On May 5, Lewisburg voters in Wards 1 and 5 have a chance to vote for those who will represent them on the City Council for the next four years.

Ward 1 Councilman Steve Thomas is running unopposed for another term. Ward 5 voters have to choose between David Orr, who was recently appointed to fill the unexpired portion of Robin Minor's term, and Nicholas Tipper.

Orr was born in Marshall County and educated here through the eighth grade. He's retired now, but has a wide range of business experience. Orr worked in leadership positions in several local banks, and also ran a wholesale distribution business and a vending business. Now he helps coach football at Marshall County High School, and also works as a substitute teacher there.

Orr is no stranger to City Hall -- he was city manager of Lewisburg from March 2011 until he resigned 13 and a half months later for "personal reasons," as he told the Tribune at the time.

He said he started thinking about running for a seat on the council when he heard about Minor's resignation in December.

Orr said he feels that his extensive background in business and finance and his community service in Lewisburg make him an excellent candidate for the job of councilman.

"I'm sure my opponent is highly qualified as well," he added.

Running against Orr, Tipper also applied to fill Minor's seat. He graduated from Marshall County High School in 2005 and went on to graduate from Columbia State and Athens State, earning numerous academic awards. Currently Tipper is the manager of a local restaurant, but he plans to go back to college for a master's degree in the near future.

"I'm hoping I can have some ideas that will be different from the others," he said, when asked why he was running for a seat on the council.

Tipper added he would like to play a part in reviving Lewisburg to how it was when ICP was open, or even better.

"We want to get people to want to come and live here," he said.

Tipper already has a Facebook page for his campaign, and plans to go door-to-door talking to his prospective constituents, asking them what the city needs to work on the most.

"I'll be open to their questions and concerns," he said.

Thomas, who was born in Columbia, moved to Lewisburg in 2007. He is now pastor of the Belfast Presbyterian Church, but spent 25 years working in public policy and administration. Thomas was 45 years old when he started at Vanderbilt Divinity School.

"I think we've done a lot of good things in the last four years," he said, about his time on the council.

"I'm the only one left (on the council) from 2011," Thomas pointed out.

"I can provide some continuity. I spend time in the religious and civil sectors and enjoy doing both. I'm excited about the future of Lewisburg; I'm excited about where we're going."

Voters in the other three wards have something to vote on as well: whether wine should be sold in grocery stores. There were enough signatures on the petition in favor of this to have it put on the ballot, explained Administrator of Elections Tristan Arnold. Even if the vote is in favor, according to recent legislation, wine won't appear in grocery stores here until summer 2016.

Early voting will be from April 15-30 at the Election Office, 230 College St.

The deadline to declare a write-in candidacy is March 16.