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Leach running for reelection

BY Carolyn Muyskens - cmuyskens@chronicle-tribune.com

Gas City Mayor Larry Leach plans to seek a fifth term.

The Democrat filed for the mayoral race Wednesday. Leach first took office in 2001 after the death of long-serving mayor Eugene “Beaner” Linn and has won reelection every term since.

“It's fantastic that he's running,” said Grant County Democratic Party Chair Terry Stodghill.

“I think Larry's done a tremendous job in the Gas City area … I think Larry Leach is great for Gas City, and I think it's great he's running again,” Stodghill added.

Stodghill also praised three other Democrats on the Gas City Council, Michael Planck, Larry Terwillegar and Troy Richards, who have all filed for reelection this week.

David Huffman, a Republican Gas City Council member, has also filed for reelection.

Current Jonesboro Mayor Bob McNutt is also seeking another term.

“There are a lot of goals there that I want to see through. I feel excited and positive about that. I want to see downtown finished, I want to see some of the buildings torn down, and I want to clean up the neighborhoods,” McNutt said.

McNutt said a major project he still wants to finish is repaving every road in Jonesboro. “We're about 50 percent there,” McNutt said.

The Republican mayor said he wants to see Jonesboro expand and become a place residents are proud of.

“We're never going to be a big industrial community, but the goal is to make it the best community (it can be),” McNutt said.

In Marion, Republican council member Steve Henderson has filed for the mayoral race. Mayor Jess Alumbaugh (D) and Council member Dave Homer (R) have also announced their candidacies for mayor but have not officially filed for the race yet.

Current council members Brad Luzadder (R), Don Batchelor (D) and Deb Cain (R) have all filed for reelection.

New to Marion's council race are Republican Michael Cline and Democrat Javon Washington.

Washington applied for the Marion school board when two seats were open over the summer, but was passed over by the board, who picked Dana Gault and Seraphina Salamo.

Washington, who is running for an at-large seat on the city council, said Marion needs more entrepeneurship and business innovation.

“I see a lot of missed opportunites, things that can be done or could have been done. Let's change that,” Washington said.

The Ruler Foods store manager said the population decline concerns him but using Marion's empty real estate to bring in new business could be one answer.

“We have to start somewhere,” Washington said.

Michael Cline is a former editor of the Chronicle-Tribune who recently retired from a grant-writing position with the Grant County Prosecutor's Office.

“We need to work on workforce development, work on attracting, inviting and retaining jobs,” Cline said.

Cline also said fixing roads, getting the streets cleaned up and ensuring the city becomes safer are also on his priority list.

“This is home, this town's worth fighting for,” Cline said.

Cline is running for the District 2 City Council seat.

Leach did not return voicemails requesting comment Thursday.