Some city councils do the mayoral administration’s bidding without challenging requests for budget allocations, ordinance revisions and personnel additions.
Anderson City Council? Not so much.
Led by the inquisitive minds of Rebecca Crumes and Ty Bibbs, the city council often pushes Mayor Tom Broderick and city department heads to justify their requests and to take a more aggressive approach to solving the community’s problems.
Crumes and Bibbs, both Democrats, are running for reelection in a four-person race for three at-large seats on council. Other candidates are former city councilman Rick Muir, a Democrat, and would-be newcomer Brandon Collins, a Libertarian.
The Herald Bulletin’s editorial board endorses Crumes and Bibbs for their active roles on council and endorses Muir for his experience and past service on the council. Collins has expressed a desire to serve in city government but lacks the experience of the other at-large candidates.
In district races for council, the editorial board endorses three Republicans — Jennifer Culp (District 1), Jon Bell (District 3) and Art Pepelea (District 5) — and one Democrat, Donna Davis.
Culp and Bell, both incumbents, have served well and consistently on council. Culp has been a strong advocate for parks and trails, while Bell, a former police officer, brings an important perspective to resource allocation discussions. Their Democratic opponents, Tim Funk (District 1) and Electra Young (District 3), show promise as elected officials but haven’t shown enough in their campaigns to justify unseating effective incumbents.
Because of ill health, Davis, who is seeking her 10th term, has missed many recent council meetings, but her opponent, Evelyn Jackson, has not offered a convincing case that she’s well prepared to serve on council.
Pepelea is a former longtime council member who has run a committed campaign to win his seat back. He faces Lance Stephenson, who defeated him by a narrow margin in 2015. Though they have much different styles – Pepelea is highly opinionated while Stephenson generally doesn’t get into spats with fellow council members – both have proved to be dedicated public servants.
The editorial board’s endorsement goes to Pepelea, in part to strike a better bipartisan balance on the nine-person council, where Democrats currently hold a 7-2 majority, with two (Ollie Dixon, District 4; and Joe Newman, District 6) running unopposed for reelection.