DAYTON, Tenn. - Dayton Mayor-elect Gary Louallen, who won the office Wednesday by fewer than 30 votes, said the close race brought home to him the importance of every registered voter exercising that right.
Out of 4,300 registered voters in the city, only 972 people voted in the mayoral election, Louallen said, with fewer than 300 casting ballots Wednesday.
"That was disheartening," he said, after all the fliers and phone calls that he and his campaign team initiated.
Louallen, a self-employed businessman for more than 42 years who owns a number of properties in Dayton, received 499 votes in the election to Vice Mayor Bobby Doss' 473 votes. Certification of the results is expected later this month.
Louallen, along with fellow Councilmen Bill Graham and Steve Randolph, will be sworn in May 6, he said.
During his campaign, Louallen had said he wanted to help Dayton prosper, and that he planned to use his "visionary" tactics for improvements on a one-, three- and five-year basis.
On Friday, Louallen said he couldn't be specific about his plans until he's officially certified, but that if "everybody's working together" it will help move industrial progress along.
City Council members also serve on the city's school board, and Louallen will take over former Mayor Bob Vincent's position as chairman of that panel.
In March, Doss had spoken of the wealth of knowledge he said Vincent had given him.
"There's a lot of knowledge that will be hard to replace [for whoever wins the election]," he said, but "the council is strong."
Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.