Newcomers gain both city council seats
Incumbents Smith, Sosebee out
election

Political newcomers Mark French and Stephen Tolson won Tuesday's city council election and will replace incumbents Mike Sosebee and Angie Smith.

French led with 157 votes and Tolson came in second with 134.

Smith tallied 105 votes and Sosebee 118.

Each voter cast two votes, with the top two vote-getters winning the seats.

Voters cast 282 ballots. Voter turnout between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday numbered 152 with one provisional ballot.

There were 128 early ballots cast and one absentee.

Voter turnout was 16 percent, with 1,790 registered voters in the city.

“I appreciate the support I got from the city,” Tolson said Tuesday night. “[French] and I will improve the decisions that are made at the city in a positive way. I think he and I are very like-minded.”

Tolson, 40, said he put a lot of effort into campaigning.

“I knocked on 300 doors in the city,” Toslon said. “Ninety percent of the people I spoke with openly supported change, not just with the decisions the council has made recently, but also with the exponential growth the city is expecting. My only interest is to promote the city in the best way possible and I think that people realize that and they saw my true intentions.”

Tolson said he would celebrate the win quietly at home with his parents, wife and children.

Smith, 42, said she is proud of the work that she did on the city council and hopes to see the new members finish some of the work that she and her fellow council started.

“I fought the good fight and I finished my race,” Smith said. “I have confidence in knowing that I started this job simply wanting to help- I was appointed five years ago. I stayed in it because I liked the work and I wanted to help. I did not let the politics change who I was…I did what I thought was right and the best for our citizens.”

Smith said that she is done with her service and is ready to move on to something else, with no current plans to run for office again.

 She said that in her time on the council, she did nothing that she is ashamed of.

“I’m proud of the time I put in,” Smith said. “I care nothing about power.  I just wish the ones who come in behind me will have a good moral compass [and] I expect as a citizen to see ground breaking in the next few years on the things that we started.”

Sosebee, 75, said he didn’t know how the vote was going to turn out, with so much turmoil in the city and a lot of newer and younger voters.

“That’s just the way it goes,” Sosebee said. “The people spoke. I guess they figured we weren’t doing the job how they wanted us to. They put the two new guys in and the two old ones out.”

Sosebee said he has no hard feelings and that he enjoyed his time with the city.

“I guess I’m just going to hang my hat up four years earlier than I planned,” he said.

Tolson and French will join the rest of the city council in January.

Currently on the council are Caleb Phillips and Jason Power, who is serving as Mayor Pro Tem since former Mayor James Grogan was officially removed from office on Oct. 9.

French could not be reached for comment as of press time Tuesday night.