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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bainbridge, Roachdale lose board presidents in elections

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

(Photo)
Re-elected Roachdale council member Jack Jones celebrates his win with a kiss from his wife Carolyn.
The town elections Tuesday night for Bainbridge and Roachdale kept the status quo for the most part. But both town councils have lost their standing presidents, Richard Cope in Bainbridge and William Long in Roachdale, leaving the councils to have to select new leaders.

Bainbridge will likely not have trouble with this though. Bonnie Osborn, who defeated opponents Jim Watson and Michael Lewis by a vote of 76-49-8, said she would elect the re-elected Chuck McElwee.

"I just want to keep going with where we're going," Osborn said. "(But) it's a shame we lost Richard."

McElwee, who defeated challenger David Crawley 78-52, said he would happily accept the nomination of board president if he was formally asked. McElwee will serve his first full term as he was selected to replace former board member Naomi Barker this year.

"I appreciate the opportunity to hold a full term," McElwee said. "I really like my little town I live in. I feel humbled and appreciative."

Both board members were disappointed to lose Cope, but are looking forward to working with newly elected Joel Thompson. The board, along with unopposed treasurer Jason Hartman, is looking forward to continuing the trend of positive Bainbridge action, applying for more state grants and working on making the town more attractive for residents and businesses.

"I'll miss Richard; he was someone I looked up to," McElwee said. "I look forward to working with Joel."

Cope lost to Joel Thompson by a vote of 75-57. Thompson said he is looking forward to giving the people a voice on the council and is looking to make a few changes when he is sworn in next year. But he's also happy to win.

"This is the first thing I've ever run for," Thompson said. "I care about the town. I walked to every house in this whole town (while campaigning)."

Roachdale's six-man race for the three council spots ended with Barbara Scott and Jack Jones remaining on the council. However, both members were overshadowed in votes by Zach Bowers. Bowers won 167 votes compared to Scott's 96. Jones barely edged into the final seat with 94 votes, beating challenger Rick Kiefer by one vote.

"I was afraid I would get beat," Jones said after learning of his victory at the Putnam County Courthouse.

William Long placed fifth in the voting with 58 total votes and will be replaced by Bowers. Though this will be Long's final year on the board after 16 years of service, he said he is not disappointed to leave, especially with Scott, Jones and clerk-treasurer Martha Louk remaining on the board.

"It doesn't upset me," Long said. "I'm not shocked to get beat. They wanted a change."

Long is happy Bowers will take his place on the board and knows he will do a good job in the community.

"Zach is a great guy," Long said. "He's interested in the community. I think it'll be a good council for the town of Roachdale."

Though retired, Long said he will still attend meeting and was willing to help the council if need be.

Bowers said he is looking forward to working with Jones and Scott. As a lifelong Roachdale resident, he wants to increase the council's transparency and continue to apply for more grant money.

"I think you have to be more open with them," Bowers said. "I think we'll make things work pretty well."

Louk defeated her three challengers by garnering almost half the total vote with 105. She said she is excited to return for another term with the board.