By Dick Cook Staff Writer
JASPER, Tenn. Jerry Don Case is challenging Howell Moss in the May 2 Democratic primary for Marion County mayor.
No Republican candidate qualified for the primary, so the winner will become the next county mayor, election officials said.
Mr. Moss, 56, who is seeking his fifth term as mayor, said the county has attracted new businesses and experienced vast residential growth in his 16 years in office.
"I want to continue on this same path, which has been exceptionally good," Mr. Moss said Monday.
Mr. Moss pointed to a number of accomplishments during his tenure: 15 "moderately sized" industries have been established and continue to expand in the county; unemployment has dropped from 16 percent to 4.6 percent; 586 new homes have been built since 2000; four new schools have been built and local education funding has risen by 66 percent in the past six years, and sewer and waterline expansion to the county continues.
"One of the best things weve done since Ive been here is getting waterline and sewer-extension grants for the county," he said. "You cant build homes if you dont have water."
Mr. Case, 50, who has served as a county commissioner and a Kimball alderman, is the director of Marion County 911.
Mr. Case said he is running to promote better communication between the county mayors office and the cities within the county.
"What we need to do is pull the county and the cities together and work with the mayors and boards of alderman and get some industry in here.
"If you dont work with cities inside the county you are going to have problems," he said.
Mr. Case said he sees the county growing, in part because of its "friendly people."
"This county is fixing to take off," he said. "Weve got people coming to live here from surrounding counties and as far away as California and Florida. "Things are going to change, and weve got to change with it."
Mr. Case said he wouldnt have entered the race if he didnt think he had a chance to win.
"At this point, all I can do is ask the people to vote for me," he said. "Ive had a number of people tell me they would like to see a change. Im going to give them that opportunity."
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