Wright unopposed for mayor

With the City of Denmark elections only a week away on February 10th, 2009, only one candidate has filed to replace Mayor Carrie Simmons, who didn’t file to run for another four year term, while three incumbents and one new comer are seeking to fill three seats on council.

Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Gerald E. Wright, who has served a total of 22 years on Denmark city council, is unopposed in his bid to replace Simmons as the town’s mayor.

Wright cites his “ record of service to the community, history of efforts to improve our area, accomplishments for the good of the community, and just love for the city of Denmark,” as his reasons for seeking to become the town’s next mayor.

“It is my desire and intention, if I am given the opportunity to serve, to work with the county, state and federal officials in a manner that serves the interest of the city of Denmark,” Wright said.

Wright said that he would also seek cooperative relationships with the education and business/industrial communities to facilitate improvements in the quality of life for the community.

“I am committed to serve and will be dedicated to the task of improving life in the city of Denmark and to working with all parties interested in making it a better place in which to live,” Wright said.

Citing her “interest in helping others and getting the community to work together” are the main reasons Stacey Franks, a member of the city’s fire department, and a resident of the city for three years gives for seeking a seat on city council.

“I think that Denmark has so much potential that’s not being met due to leadership,” Franks said. “The city hasn’t been unified with everybody working in the same direction the last few years, the fire department, police, city hall all working together as one and not going in different directions,” Franks said.

Franks said that an area of concern has been the people in the police and fire departments not having the support of the people that run the community. “They need to know that they are being backed up and appreciated,” Franks said.

Incumbent councilmember Bonnie Love stated that improvements in the city’s fire protection, protection of the citizens, and fresh clean drinking water are the main goals she would like to see accomplished as she seeks a second four year term on city council.

“Our water pipes have been in place 40-50 years and need to be improved and upgraded, that needs to be the number one project,” Love said.

She said that other priorities are the improvements in the condition of the low income housing in the city, and the improvement of law enforcement. “I know they are working on a lot of issues,” Love said referring to the city’s police department.

Referring to the proposed streetscape project downtown, Love said that she liked the way things are on Main Street now, but would like to see some changes. “I don’t agree that condensing downtown to-two lanes is necessary,” love said.

“We’re going to see changes made in the future, a lot of things are in the making that won’t happen overnight and we’re going to need leadership from our elected officials to get the job done, is why I decided to run one more time and make a difference,” Love said.

“Working with the youth” is the main reason incumbent councilmember James Robinson gave for seeking a second four year term on Denmark City Council.

Robinson said that he was able to see two of his nine goals accomplished during his first term of office including: Getting the Catherine Moore Park up to safety standards, and seeing work started on Haynes Park with bathroom facilities installed and the next phase of getting electricity in place started. Robinson noted the good assistance he has received from the county in upgrading the city’s parks.

Robinson stated that in the area of community relations the police department “needed to be more professional in the way the citizens of the town are handled”. “You’re innocent until found guilty, I don’t think we have that approach,” Robinson who retired in 2004 after 20 years with the department of corrections said.

“We’ve done some real nice things for the kids of the community and that’s what I would like to continue to do,” Robinson said.

Incumbent councilmember Jake Bookard noted the progress the city of Denmark has made over his two prior terms on city council as the reason he was running for a third term.

“When I first ran, Denmark was in bad condition and was on the verge of bankruptcy,” Bookard said. “We had to make some tough decisions that weren’t what people wanted to heard, the city is now doing well and is still here,” Bookard said.

Bookard said the city’s main priority should be to see improvements in the water system, which he noted was “very old.”

“Clean drinking water is very important, what they don’t see is, I use the same water system they do,” Bookard said noting that grants have been approved for two new wells.

Bookard stated that improvements in the city’s streets, where kids didn’t have to walk in the road and the turnover in the police department are areas he would like to see improvements in.

“I think Gerald Wright will do a good job as mayor, I just want to be a part of the team,” Bookard said.