Two qualify to run for LaFayette Council, one waiting to see

Published 7:03 pm Wednesday, December 19, 2018

LaFAYETTE — The field is almost set to see who will fill the vacant seat in District B on the LaFayette City Council in February, according to LaFayette City Clerk Louis Davidson.

Those on the February ballot as of Wednesday will include longtime former LaFayette City Councilman David Ennis and retired engineer and Shannon Hunter.

Charlotte Blasingame, District B runner-up in the 2016 election, will have to wait to learn her fate, Davidson said.

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Candidates must file a statement of interest at the LaFayette City Hall. Additionally, they must file a principal campaign committee form at the Chambers County Probate Judge’s office with five days of qualifying at the city level and a statement of economic interest with the Alabama Ethics Commission, Davidson said.

Ennis and Hunter have completed their responsibilities, but Blasingame did not fulfill her requirement with the Probate Judge’s Office within the five days. She cited an illness as the reason for missing the deadline and is waiting on an opinion for the Chambers County District Attorney on whether or not she will be on the ballot.

The seat is open due to the resignation of former councilman and mayor Mathew Hurst. He resigned June 25 to take a job in another city.

Ennis is a former LaFayette mayor from 1992 to 1996, but decided not to run for re-election. After deciding not to run, he was appointed to serve as a councilman and remained on the board until 2016.

This year, it seems he wants to get back into politics just because he misses being in public service.

“I just miss it,” Ennis said. “I miss the challenge it brings. I miss being involved in the budget process.”

He said 14 years in office either as a mayor or councilman gives him the experience to understand city budgets and make sound decisions with dealing with the public’s money.

Hunter moved to the area a few years ago and wants to get involved to move the city forward. Also, he wants to make sure there is more communities between the government and its citizens.

“They (the public) seem to be continually surprised because they haven’t been told what is going on,” he said. “I have been recording council meetings to improve knowledge, so if they want to know, they will be able to know. I hope to provide more information to the public because I’ll be in the process.”

Hunter runs and maintains the website “LaFayette for Citizens,” which chronicles all the city council meetings, and its agenda items. He also records videos of the meetings and posts the files on the website.

Hunter said he doesn’t have formal experience on a city council in LaFayette, but he did serve on a zoning and planning commission in Texas as a chairman. He also was a president of a homeowner’s association when he lived in Mexico.

In August, six candidates expressed interest for the job. Ennis, Hunter and Blasingame were interested along with Merilyn Vines, president of the Vines Funeral Home, Nell Finley and Brad Shaver.

Vines said she will not be running for the seat. Finley said she qualified, but wrote a letter to the city asking to have her name withdrawn. She said she felt confident in herself as a candidate, but despite her concerns for the growth and development of the city, she is still employed full time and very active in her church.

“I believe in giving 100 percent to anything that I am involved in, however, because of my already busy life style, with much prayer and consideration I feel that my decision to withdraw from the race is the right choice at this time,” she said in a statement to the Valley Times.

At the Aug. 13 meeting, the council decided there should be an election rather than just appointing a new member.