Voters elect new council
Jonathan Willis and Kim West
A better than expected turnout of voters went to the polls Tuesday to elect Russellville's new governing body.
Jeff Masterson defeated county engineer David Palmer 363 to 333 to win the District 1 council seat. Masterson, who works for Norfolk Southern Railroad, said the high number of votes cast in his district showed the concern residents have about the future.
"I think it shows that District 1 hasn't given up on our town and are anxious to improve it," said Masterson, who was running for office for the first time.
"I am thankful for my family and all of the supporters and volunteers who helped me. I will never forget them."
Palmer, also a political newcomer, said he asked the people of his district to pray about their decision before voting.
"If they did that and this was the result, then that's all I can ask because I truly believe in God's will," Palmer said.
"As a competitor, I am disappointed that I lost, but I am not disappointed for the city of Russellville. The issues that I brought to the forefront are important and I believe that Jeff and the new council and mayor will work to address some of them."
In District 2, former Russellville police officer and current Littleville Police Chief William Nale defeated current Mayor Johnny Brown 209 to 148.
"People were ready for a change," Nale said. "There's a lot still to be accomplished here. The first thing we have got to do is get our budget in place and work with our building and license office on our city ordinances."
Brown, a two-term councilman and mayor, said he was pleased with what he had accomplished for the city and looks forward to helping the next administration any way that he can.
"I have enjoyed working with the citizens to better our town and community," he said. "I feel like we have moved forward and I think the city's financial shape shows that. I will work with William and the new mayor and council any time they need me."
In the District 3 race, Gary Cummings defeated former Russellville police captain and Franklin County coroner David Hester 206 to 133.
"I ran against a real good person and it feels good that the people of my district elected me to this position," Cummings said. "I look forward to working with the rest of the council."
Cummings, like most candidates, said creating new jobs would be a top priority.
"We've got some problems but Russellville is a great town and we can make this work," he said.
"I lost to a good opponent – Gary is a good guy," Hester said. "I thought we both ran a good race, and it was a clean campaign.
"The weather might have hampered things but he just had more people who came out and voted tonight. I want to thank my family and church family, and I thank everyone who come out and voted for me in the bad weather today."
In the District 4 race, Lanny Hubbard, a retired router and extension operator for ES Robbins, defeated former city employee Charles Dale 95 to 80.
"I was really shocked because this was my first time in a political campaign, and this has been educational," Hubbard said. "My top goals are to work with the street department to improve the streets, help out the school system and bring in new jobs. I think the big issue is cleaning up the city and fixing some of the intersections. These are small projects that aren't so much money-consuming as they are labor-consuming."
"I'm not just looking at District 4 – I'm also looking at helping the entire city because we all live here together. The main thing is meeting with the new mayor and council and looking at where everything is and what we need to improve."
Dale said he would continue to work with the community to raise awareness to issues.
"I'll be here to support (Hubbard), and I'll still be out here helping the community." Dale said.
"I enjoyed meeting people and listening to people, and finding out what they wished to be done.
They would like to see wider streets and the Chucky Mullins center upgraded. And there needs to be more entertainment for the elderly and the young people."
David Reed Grissom faced no opposition and has already been certified as the District 5 council winner. Troy Oliver, who won the mayoral race in the general election, and the rest of the council will be sworn in on Nov. 3.