The News Courier encourages letters to the editor. Submissions should be no more than 400 words and include name, address and telephone number for verification. Submissions that do not meet requirements are subject to editing. Writers are limited to one published letter every 30 days. Send letters to P.O. Box 670, Athens, AL 35613 or email to lora@athensnews-courier.com. The deadline for letters is Wednesday at noon.

Johnson has clear vision for Athens

Dear Editor:

As election day approaches, I would like to say a few words in support of my good friend Russell Johnson. For many years, Athens was a quiet little bedroom community of Huntsville, and the duties of our mayors were mostly local and rather limited. In the past decade, that has changed. We are in the middle of one of the fastest growing areas in the state, and we desperately need a mayor capable of leading us into the future. We are on the verge of being swallowed up by our neighbors to the east, and I believe our current mayor, still using strategies from the bedroom community days, will be unable to fend off the threat. As our city struggles to take our rightful place at the economic table, I think that Russell is uniquely qualified to face the challenges of the next decade and as such, is the logical choice to be the next mayor of Athens.

Russell has mentioned several areas of emphasis for his administration that I feel have been largely overlooked by the current mayor. He plans to hire a qualified city planner and use their expertise to help map future growth, both business and residential. With this information in hand, Russell will address our woeful lack of infrastructure throughout the city, in both existing and future developments. He wants to investigate annexation options for our city in order to keep areas of future expansion under our control as well as provide local developers with opportunities inside the city limits, all of which will bolster our tax base. He was the first candidate to propose a business incubator, intended to attract and secure high-tech jobs for our city, as well as the first candidate to advocate a raise for our police and firefighters. As school board chairman, he will continue his commitment to making our education the best in the state. Russell is also the only candidate to come to us from the business community, a highly successful executive with experience in management and negotiation — a skill set unique to him among the contenders and invaluable for the formidable job at hand.

In short, his is the clearest vision for our city and he alone possesses the skills and experience necessary to keep Athens strong, vibrant and growing as we enter into the most important economic decade in our history.

Sincerely,

Jimmy Dunn, MD

Athens

Marks — now more than ever

Dear Editor:

We have a very important decision to make on Tuesday for the ongoing future of our city! I have been a lifelong resident of Athens, having been raised here and raising my children here. I love Athens and have volunteered in a lot of ways through the years in my attempt to give back and make our city even better. I strongly support Ronnie Marks for Mayor. I personally know what an outstanding job Ronnie does for this city on a daily basis. Ronnie and his family have a deep heritage in Athens and Limestone County. He is a veteran, a former school teacher, social worker, has served in leadership with our city 35 plus years and has been our Mayor for the last 10 years. Ronnie’s dedication to this community has been exemplary.

The improvements to our city under Ronnie’s leadership are many and obvious:

• New City Hall;

• New Rec Center;

• Expanded Sportsplex:

• Beautiful downtown makeover (trees, street signs, sidewalk lights, sidewalks reworked and expanded;

• Ongoing renovation and development of the old Pilgrim’s Pride property;

• Jimmy Gill Park:

• New industries: (TBAKI, ASAHI Kasei);

• Expansion of Steelcase (largest Steelcase in North America);

• New utility substations to better serve industrial & residential growth; and

• Formed The Mayor’s Youth Commission to better educate and learn from tomorrow’s leaders.

But, one of Ronnie’s strongest assets is in the contacts he has cultivated through his years of service to Athens. I have served on The Community and Economic Development Division for the state of Alabama for several years. Ronnie Marks is known well there and is praised for his leadership and ability to get things done in the right way. In addition, Ronnie served last year as the President for the League of Municipalities for the state of Alabama. Ronnie is well known and supremely respected all across this state, particularly in Montgomery and North Alabama. In addition, he has a great working relationship with the current political leadership of Limestone County.

This is a critical time for Athens as we experience ongoing and unprecedented growth. In addition, with all we are experiencing as a city in the midst of COVID, a change in leadership now would be devastating. We cannot afford to lose his leadership or his experience at this time. Please vote Tuesday!

“Marks for Mayor — Now more than ever"

Sincerely,

Richard Martin

Terry can lead city forward

Dear Editor:

We would like to endorse Brian Terry as mayoral candidate for Athens. Having worked as educators for Athens and Limestone County for over 25 years with Mr. Terry, we have seen firsthand the passion he has for this town and its citizens. Brian is a proven leader, and more importantly, he knows how to bring people together and bridge divisions. It is significant, and in every citizen's interest, that Brian Terry not only brings us a vision of progress, but also understands the nuts and bolts of the infrastructure needed to make things happen.

Mr. Terry's dedication to his students as well as to the future of Athens is evident. He sets high expectations for his students and motivates them to succeed. Mr. Terry has guided many students through the process of applying for and receiving numerous prestigious scholarships. By maintaining an effective working relationship with industry in the Athens area, he plays a key role in connecting the education world with the work force. He consistently invites local business representatives to speak to his classes and to school events to provide students exposure to the professional world. Mr. Terry is a dependable, reliable, knowledgeable and proactive leader at school. He has regularly organized public events and has led students to award-winning performance competitions. Mr. Terry is often tasked with answering questions and troubleshooting daily issues. He follows through and is supportive of teachers and staff members.

Brian Terry has proven himself as a forward thinker, a planner, organizer and someone ready to help in any given situation. He is an excellent listener and a critical thinker. He brings answers to the table and speaks with authority. Using the old adage, when he speaks, people listen! He is knowledgeable about not only our school, but our hometown. Having served as a City Councilman, he knows the workings of our city government. The city of Athens is at a crossroads now with the growth and development "boom" due to the coming of the Mazda-Toyota facility. Athens can thrive with the rapid growth or can become a city that suffers with growing pains. We believe that Brian Terry has the necessary qualities to lead the city of Athens forward in these next years of growth.

As coworkers in a position to see his leadership skills multiple times a day, we support Mr. Brian Terry for Mayor of Athens.

Sincerely,

Glennis Black

Holly Thompson

Beth Brazier

Athens

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