Editor’s note: The News Courier will publish candidate announcements as we receive them and as space allows ahead of the Aug. 25 municipal election. Announcements should be no longer than 700 words and emailed to email@example.com. They may be edited for length, grammar, style and content.
Mark Wilson said he believes the city of Athens is filled with plenty of growth and opportunity, but the town still remains “empty toward diversity and fairness from the past.”
“Many citizens are living in dilapidated conditions in lieu of continuous improvements to specific communities and locales, and it's an important reason that I, Mark Wilson, have decided to be the next mayor of the city of Athens,” he said.
Wilson has qualified for the mayoral race in the Aug. 25 municipal election.
“It's time to put our hands to the plow to stop injustice and corruption in our city,” Wilson said. “When the master plan map of the city was drawn up, it was never meant to be inclusive for all people, especially people of color.
“This is a common practice in many cities to disenfranchise a specific group of people in order to uphold the outdated status quo.”
Wilson said, for example, certain land plots that were once commercial for years in Black communities are now residential.
“With this kind of decision-making, Black businesses can never be established in those communities again,” he said. “Nor can they survive being established in areas where costs and demographics are not in favor of such businesses.”
Wilson said Alabama 99 and Alabama 127 have been needing upgrades for years. He said the Alabama Department of Transportation, the District 5 City Councilman and the city engineer all agree the area should be upgraded to the 21st century.
He said the Department of Transportation has asked the City of Athens to submit a plan for the intersection to the highways.
“To this day, no plan has been submitted,” he said. “Offering procrastination and excuses to one group of people versus going above and beyond for only supporters are not good examples of leadership. Neither is a lack of transparency.”
Wilson said he will be a mayor who serves all citizens in Athens.
“When I am elected and sworn into office on day one, I pledge to serve with humble character, due diligence and with a higher degree of integrity,” he said. “My leadership will seal a guaranteed future for the city that will also reconcile indifferences of the past. As we sow seeds to build a new generation of civility, so too we shall reap the harvest of liberty, justice, peace and prosperity for everyone living in the city of Athens.
“That is my pledge, as I invite you join me in 'putting our hands to the plow' for a better and brighter city in North Alabama.”