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Longview Council candidates share views at forum

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
April 2, 2012 at 11 p.m.

Candidates for the Longview City Council discussed their views on community matters Monday evening at a forum sponsored by We The People-Longview.

Candidates attending were: John A. Sims, Samantha D. Clark and David J. Sparks, all of whom are running for District 1 representative; Gary L. Smith, the only candidate for District 2 representative; and Mayor Jay Dean. Tammy Barnes, who is challenging Dean for mayor, did not attend.

About 60 people attended the forum. Each candidate had 10 minutes to speak and then all candidates took questions from the audience.

Dean told the audience that he believes municipal government is a business, one which is funded by tax dollars and that he and the current council have the city operating on a business-like plan.

"Being the mayor is not a part-time job," Dean said. "I try to help people find solutions to their problems. I can't solve everything, but I return every phone call and make sure people know I'm taking their concerns seriously."

Clark, who is the associate pastor of Triumphant Christian Center, said that many people have asked her why a minister would run for city council.

"I don't believe we need to keep our physical and spiritual lives separate," Clark said. "Christians have the right and the responsibility to take part in civic affairs. I love Longview and feel I could help lead the city as we meet the opportunities and challenges of the future."

Sims, who is the incumbent representative, said he hopes to be elected to a third - and, because of term limits, final - term so that he can work with Dean and other council members to finish some projects they have begun.

"I really hope to get a new animal shelter for the city," Sims said. "It's embarrassing the number of dogs we euthanize."

Sparks shared information on his family and business background. He is a construction and remodeling contractor; he and his wife are the parents of two children.

"My goals for the city include enacting a 3-1-1 system and revitalizing the I-20 corridor," Sparks said. "We also need to finish implementing all our retirement community plans."

Smith said that he is running because he has a passion for Longview and wants to share his skills and abilities with the city. He is seeking the seat being vacated by Daryl Williams.

"I want to revitalize the southwest district, continue to update Lear Park, continue to update the downtown area and put more emphasis on recycling," Smith said.

City elections are May 12.



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