By Max Hrenda
When asked if state Rep. Kent Williams’ announcement that he would run for Carter County mayor had forced him to make adjustments to any potential re-election bid, County Mayor Leon Humphrey replied, “None at all.”
“At no point in time have I ever lost sight as to who I actually work for as mayor, and that’s the citizens of Carter County,” Humphrey said. “It’ll be up to them to assess my actual performance in the ’14 elections. If they feel that I’ve done a good job, they’ll put me back in office. If they feel that I failed, then they’ll replace me with some other candidate, whether it be Rep. Williams or whoever else runs for the office.”
Williams announced his candidacy at a press conference on Thursday morning. Citing a lack of leadership and a feeling of instability in Carter County politics, Williams said, as mayor, he could provide guidance on how to make county government more cooperative.
“I’ve attended a few county commission meetings, and it’s pretty nasty sometimes, from both sides, and from the citizens,” Williams said. “There’s a sense of ‘we just want to argue.’ You lose focus when you concentrate on what your next argument is going to be. That’s where leadership comes in, to get back on task.”
Not everyone is convinced that a shift in the county mayor position would lead to a more harmonious county government. County Commissioner Scott Sams, who said he would support a re-election bid for Humphrey, said that a crucial part of government is to be constructively contentious.
“You always have disagreements and debates, that’s what government is about,” Sams said. “We argue our issues and take a vote on them. In my opinion, that has nothing to do with who the mayor is. The mayor is not a voting authority in the commission, so I don’t know how Kent Williams or Mayor Humphrey or anyone else would make a difference.”
Other members of the commission expressed eagerness at the possibility of a change in leadership.
“To be truthful, I’m very excited,” said Commissioner Steve Lowrance. “I’ve known Kent for a good while. You can sit down, talk with him, and he’ll listen. He doesn’t hold grudges, and he’s good to work with. Our county would be very fortunate if (voters) put him in there.”
Read the full story on Williams’ announcement, reactions from county government officials, his potential replacements in the state Legislature, and more in tomorrow’s edition of the STAR.
REPORTED EARLIER TODAY:
State Rep. Kent Williams announced on Thursday that he will not be seeking re-election to the state Legislature.
Instead, he will try his hand in chasing the county government’s top spot in the 2014 election for county mayor.
“I’m still full of energy, and I still want to serve,” Williams said. “If voters think I can get the job done, I’m proud to do it at the local level.”