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Voters primed for primaries

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
April 29, 2001
UNION Officials at Union City Hall say it's not unusual to have opposing candidates running for each of the city's elected positions it happened in 1989. What's different this time is they're all Democrats.
If elected, Union Mayor Max Sessums will begin his fourth consecutive term as mayor. He said he served the city as an alderman for 12 consecutive years before running for mayor.
The first time he ran for mayor, it was "to get a ditch fixed." It took a little while to get the ditch fixed, he said, but what has followed makes a good record for him and the same board of aldermen which has been in place since he was elected mayor.
He said Union's growth includes a new community center, a new fire station, a new pavilion in the city park, a new fire truck and water well and three new industries Choctaw Maid, Choctaw Glove and Brooks Manufacturing Company.
His opponent, Jack Nelson Jr., wants his chance to make some improvements in Union. Nelson said he has spent the last week before the primaries campaigning by word-of-mouth, walking through neighborhoods and passing out cards and leaflets.
Nelson spent 35 years at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.
He has been a Union resident for more than 20 years.
In Union's Board of Aldermen's race in Ward 1, incumbent L.B. Adkins will face off against Ricky Sistrunk. In Ward 2, incumbent John Graham is pitted against Rex Germany. Incumbent Mattie Boler will contend with Kenny Slaughter in Ward 3. In Ward 4, incumbent Bobbye McElroy is pitted against Kevin Carter, and Wayne Welch will defend his Ward 5 alderman's position against Herman R. Adkins
In other area races
In Decatur, Republican Mayor David Griffin will run against Hampton Gardner, while two Democrats battle it out for the Ward 2 alderman's position. Incumbent Chris Spears will face off against Mark Buntyn.
In Newton, the mayor's race pits Mayor Hamp Beatty, a Democrat, against fellow Democrat Andre Lang. Wards 1 and 5 are also Democratic races. In Ward 1, incumbent Michael Hillie will defend his position against Sammie Jean Jones. Incumbent Tom Brand will battle Terry McKinion for the Ward 5 office.
In Quitman, one of aldermen races will be decided as Carol Smith and incumbent Jock Young seek the Ward 2 seat in the Democratic primary. There are no other challengers.
In Enterprise, incumbent Mayor Mike Gunn faces the challenge of Larry Murray in the Republican primary. The winner faces Independent Vernon Robinson in the general election. Republicans Jay Carruth, Gerald Covington, Lisa Melton, Hazle Lee and Brenda Lord will all advance to the general election as GOP nominees for the Enterprise board of aldermen.
Town government for all of Shubuta will be decided in the Democratic Party primary. Incumbent Mayor Clyde Brown is being challenged by Everett Heidelberg and Matthew Skidmore. In the race for aldermen, Oscar Blakley Jr., Rosco Jones, Jeanie McDonald, Charles McFarland, Mary Alice Morgan, Wille B. Nelson, Bob Owens and Yancey Taylor are all seeking one of the at-large seats on the five-member board.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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