CLINTON — Three candidates are running for mayor of Clinton in the Nov. 6 election, while nine candidates are running for five seats on the town’s Board of Aldermen.
Early voting for the contest begins Tuesday and continues through Oct. 30, except Oct. 28. The machines for early voting will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the East Feliciana Registrar of Voters Office, 11048 Bank St., in Clinton.
Mayor Don Reason, who is serving his first term in office, is opposed by Robert Flowers and Alderwoman Lori Ann Bell.
Reason, 66, said he is semi-retired from his business of selling and repairing computers.
Bell, 51, owns a tax-preparation business and attends Capital Area Technical College. She is in her first term on the Board of Aldermen and is its finance chairwoman.
Flowers, 61, is a retired East Louisiana Mental Health Systems employee and is employed part-time as a utility meter reader for the town.
In a recent forum, the candidates discussed their ideas to increase the number of businesses and residents in the town, including whether they would support enlarging the corporate limits to take in new businesses bordering town.
Bell said Clinton needs a leader with a new vision to get the town headed in a new direction, saying fresh ideas are needed to encourage the town’s growth and bring businesses back.
She said she would support expanding the city limits.
Flowers said the town government has people on its staff who could be planning and assisting new development, but he questioned why it is not being done.
“Spreading out is a good idea,” he said, but added that a lot of “bad decisions” were made in the last eight years.
Reason said he tried to expand the town limits in his first six months in office, but the town had nothing new to offer the residents on Plank Road and Bank Street Extension because Clinton already supplied them with gas and water.
He said he will look at expanding east toward the Highland Lakeshore area, but added that annexation is “a long process.”
The candidates also were asked if they planned to fire Eddie Stewart, the town’s police chief, if they are elected.
Reason, who appointed Stewart, said the police chief told him that he is leaving Dec. 31 if Reason is not elected.
Flowers said he wanted “the baby clean” but wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
He said he would not tolerate “dead wood,” but added, “everybody deserves a chance to get it right.”
Bell said she has no intention of firing Stewart if she is elected.
The candidates for aldermen included incumbents Johnny Beauchamp, serving his third term; George Kilbourne, who has served since 1998; and first-term members Clovis Matthews and Lisa Davis Washington.
They are challenged by Marilyn Goff, Jonathan L. Loveall, Dequincey Matthews, Dana Tucker and Kim Wilson Young.
The aldermen are elected in at-large balloting, and voters may cast ballots for five candidates.