New Albany voters have a chance to help shape the future of the city in the municipal general election next Tuesday, June 8th.
Four municipal offices, each of them important to how city government policy and practice will be determined until July, 2025, will be filled on that date.
New Albany voters will elect a mayor, an alderman-at-large and aldermen for two of the town’s four Wards. The races for police chief and aldermen for Wards Three and Four were settled when the incumbents in those positions won their party primary races last month and face no opponents in the general election.
This article will discuss the races for the open seats for aldermen for Wards One and Two. Articles about the races for mayor and alderman-at large to follow later this week.
It’s a relatively young crop of candidates in both Wards One and Two, all but one of them under age 40.
WARD ONE ALDERMAN
This is an open seat with incumbent Republican Amy Livingston having declined to run for re-election after serving a single term on the city board.
Three candidates sought the Republican nomination for the Ward One seat on the board.
Ashley Kidd, Republican
Ashley Kidd, age 38, won the Ward One Republican nomination without a primary run-off. Kidd received 142 votes in the primary against a combined total of 123 votes for GOP candidates Judith Foley and Mark Bishop.
A native of Union County, Kidd’s career has been mostly in law enforcement, having served as an officer in both the Union County Sheriff’s Department and the New Albany Police Department.
Kidd recently began a new career as an insurance agent.
He was the Republican nominee for Union County Sheriff in 2019, but was defeated in that year’s general election by incumbent Democrat Sheriff Jimmy Edwards.
“I think it’s going well,” Kidd said yesterday of his campaign for Ward One alderman. “I’m still working, trying to talk to as many people as possible. I have two tough opponents, good people.
“Whoever gets elected they’ll have a heart for our city employees,” he said.
Ashley Kidd made the last statement in response to a question about the controversial decision by the city board last year to not give city employees their usual three-percent (3%) annual cost of living raise. Instead, a raise of just one-and-a-half percent (1.5%) was given to most city workers for the current fiscal year.
The three Republican alderman on the board opposed awarding the usual three percent raise. City revenues were shown to be adequate to give the normal raise, and the city had just been informed of a substantial windfall of several hundred thousand dollars of funds from the Federal government’s COVID grants.
However, one Republican alderman said he opposed the three percent raise because most city workers didn’t have college degrees.
Kidd said that “as long as there’s money available in the budget” he would favor giving the full three-percent annual increase in future fiscal years.
Parks Smith, Independent
Parks Smith, age 35, is running as an Independent for the Ward One seat on the board of Aldermen. Smith is a native of New Albany and holds two degrees from the University of Mississippi. He is a teacher at New Albany Middle School.
Smith said, “I am running for alderman of Ward One because, like so many of you, I believe in New Albany. We need to believe in what New Albany already is. We need to believe even more in what New Albany can be.”
Smith cited New Albany’s many assets and advantages such as the Tanglefoot Trail, its location astride Interstate 22, the Union County Heritage Museum, the legacy of Nobelist William Faulkner, etc. and said, “City government must play a more active role in promoting these gifts and assets.”
The father of five young children, Parks said, “In small town elections, a single vote can make a world of difference. When you cast your vote for me on June 8th, I will work hard to promote what New Albany has to offer, to preserve what makes us great, and to make progress on the improvements our community needs in order to thrive.”
Jessica Winston, Democrat
Jessica Winston, also still well short of her 40th birthday, won the Democratic nomination for Ward One without a primary opponent.
She is employed at the Union County Public Library.
Winston is a spirited campaigner. “I really think I can win,” she said. “It’s just about getting people to vote. There are three great people running.”
Winston told NEMiss.News that her former husband, Tyrus Bobo, became suddenly and seriously ill about a week ago. She is helping care of Bobo at a Memphis hospital and said, “Ask people to pray for him.”
WARD TWO ALDERMAN
Ward Two is an open seat on the city board. Second Ward Alderman Johnny Anderson chose not to seek re-election after serving a total of 28 years – seven terms – as a New Albany Alderman
David “Drew” Horn, Republican
Drew Horn, age 38, easily won the GOP nomination for Ward Two alderman without a run-off. Horn drew 165 votes in the April Republican primary, compared to a combined total of 93 votes for opponents Adam Hardy and Jim Gann.
Horn earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Ole Miss, was then trained as a physical therapist, but ultimately pursued a career in business.
Horn is a licensed life insurance agent and the active owner/operator of three nutrition businesses: Tallahatchie Nutrition in New Albany, Topper Nutrition in Blue Mountain and Golden Nutrition in Holly Springs.
“I would encourage everyone to turn out to vote,” said Horn. “I’m hoping we can get a good turnout.”
Tim Johnson, Democrat
Although he’s past 40, Democratic Ward Two nominee Tim Johnson is still on the youngish side, not yet 50 years old. He was born in New Albany.
Johnson won the Democratic nomination for the Ward Two seat on the city board with 34 votes, compared to 24 votes for opponent Gary Edwards.
After graduating from what was then W. P. Daniel High School in 1992, Johnson worked for a short while in a factory. He then worked ten years for Jitney Jungle, until it closed down, and 11 years for Furniture Row. Nine years ago, he established his own automobile detailing business on Highway 15. He still operates that business and also works as a school bus driver and as custodian at New Albany Middle School.
“One of my biggest concerns in New Albany is our youth,” said Johnson. He would like to see the parks and recreation sports programs expanded to included basketball and football.
Regarding his campaign for Ward Two alderman, Johnson said, “Its hard to say. I feel good about it. Win or lose I got out here and tried.”
Where to vote and all about the election: https://www.nemiss.news/na-absentee-ballots-ready/City election, MS politics, New Albany MS, Northeast Mississippi news