Selma Mayoral Candidates Campaign for Last Minute Support

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By Tamika Bickham

It's what could be considered one of the most hotly contested mayoral races in our area. Selma's current mayor and the former mayor ran against each other four years ago, and now they face off again.

Both have had their shot at city leadership in Selma, but former two-term mayor, James Perkins, Jr. is in the race to win back his old job. Elected as the city's first black mayor in 2000, he was defeated by current mayor, George Evans, in 2008.

Hoping to be elected to serve a second term, Mayor Evans says he has a plan for community growth.

"Maybe get the citizens involved in some means of other fundraising activities, but basically it's going to be an outreach, an outcry, and an outcall to different groups who would like to work with us in terms of investing in Selma," said Mayor Evans.

"You really have to develop the people first, getting the people to understand the ordinances, getting the people to understand why it is important to keep their yards clean, to cut their grass, to maintain their homes because that's all a part of economic and community development," said Perkins.

But at the top of Perkins priority list, he says, "We are really going to have to focus on our finances. We have increased our debt and depleted our cash flow to the point that we are going to have to fix that issue before we can really move forward."

"My priority is to continue the things that have already started. There are a lot of things that we have been doing in Selma that we are going to build on as far as our youth, our senior citizens, our downtown revitalization, our neighborhood revitalization," said Evans.

Another issue Mayor Evans is in support of is a pay raise for Selma police officers.

"The whole country is having problems with this economy, but I think that it's realistic to say in the next four years that we should be able to find ways by which we raise our employees," said Evans.

"The average police pay increased by 22 percent while I was in office, it has not changed since I left office," said Perkins, "We can get that done in 120 days, but it's going to take full cooperation from everyone to get that done."

Voters will head to the polls next Tuesday.



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