Nita Tolliver and Patrick Stewart will compete in a runoff election for Scottsboro City Council Place 2 on Oct. 6. The original election was held on Aug. 25 and saw Stewart, Tolliver and Dale Langella compete for votes. Langella was eliminated after receiving the least votes.
Since then, Langella has endorsed Stewart for the seat.
Tolliver, an educator at Caldwell Elementary School, has based her campaign on pushing for more progress for Scottsboro and argued that changes need to be made to make the city a more welcoming place.
This drive for progress and change in Scottsboro will come up against Stewart’s years of experience as they compete for the votes Scottsboro citizens.
Stewart, the incumbent representative for Place 2 and current City Council president, hopes to continue to leverage experience and connections that he says have allowed him to identify and solve problems while on the city council for eight years — for six of those years, Stewart has served as the City Council president.
The two candidates have diverged primarily on their views of economic growth.
Tolliver offered a scaled back version of development opportunities and said that she would focus on current businesses as opposed to fostering new growth due to the Coronavirus pandemic. She also focused on changing the image of Scottsboro to make it more appealing to outsiders.
“We have a lot that is going, and we may have to scale back on that and focus on the small businesses in Scottsboro,” when asked by WWIC about potentially adding a position to the EDA to recruit new retail businesses to the area.
Stewart identified economic growth and infrastructure, in both the retail and industrial area as the most important issue facing Scottsboro’s citizens as they go to the polls on Oct. 6.
“I feel Scottsboro is a very friendly place and we do not need to scale back on any economic or retail development opportunities,” said Stewart. “When we have an opportunity, we need to take advantage of it. Economic growth is essential for our community to thrive.”
In an interview the candidates gave to the WWIC radio station earlier this week, Tolliver said that instead of seeking new businesses and growth that resources would be better spent on supporting small businesses already in Scottsboro and further developing the city’s workforce.
Stewart has advocated for spending and action to be focused on developing the infrastructure — which includes improving Scottsboro’s roads — and attracting new businesses, both retail and industrial.
“My dedication for growth hasn’t stopped,” stated Stewart. “We had a meeting last week about a major grocery developer and asked what the developers needed from us to move this forward? I added the item to the work session for discussion and then to the council meeting for approval for what they had asked for.”
While he noted that workforce development is also an issue, Stewart said that an important part of recruiting new business is ensuring that you recruit the right businesses for the workforce that you have.
Stewart mentioned that he has spent much of the last few weeks leading the Scottsboro budget process — which has often involved three meetings a week at multiple hours a piece. During these budget meetings Stewart pushed for identifying capital outlay needs and addressing these with the City’s excess sales tax and other measures.
When asked why citizens should vote for them the candidates responded:
“The citizens of Scottsboro should vote for me because I will bring passion, energy, a strong work ethic and a fresh look to Scottsboro,” said Tolliver. “I will represent the citizens’ views and their voices on the council. I want to develop a community that supports the values and vision of its citizens for the future of our families and businesses.”
“My experience as a leader,” said Stewart. “Being chosen by my peers to lead the council as Council President six years. My experience with retail management and working with budgets. My commitment to the community before I was elected to the council. I believe I have represented Scottsboro well over the last eight years. I take pride in representing our friendly city. I want to see Scottsboro grow and prosper. I feel as though relationships I have formed over the last eight years with other community leaders will help Scottsboro move forward.
Tolliver and Stewart both emphasized the importance of getting out and voting on Oct. 6. Both candidates mentioned that voting is the best way to make your voice heard.
The runoff election is likely to be decided by a small number of votes.
The winners of the election will be sworn in with Ralph Dawe, winner the election for Place 1, and Jim McCamy, winner of the election for Mayor of Scottsboro, on Nov. 2 — the day before the presidential election.