WARRIOR — Editor’s Note: This article is the next-to-last in a series about local candidates for Tuesday’s elections.
In Warrior, long-time mayor Rena Hudson is not running for re-election.
Vying for the position are former councilman Oscar Turner and current councilman Johnny Ragland.
Ragland has been on the Warrior City Council for the past eight years. He wants to remain on the council as mayor, and has specific goals in mind.
“I want to see Warrior grow,” Ragland said. “I just feel like there’s potential here. I’m a Warrior grad — 1967. My heart is here.”
Ragland said some of his goals are to finish projects the city council has already started, including renovating the former National Guard armory into a new library and completing the city’s sidewalk project.
“I want to improve downtown Warrior so we can attract more businesses and improve,” he said, adding that he would like to see some of the empty storefronts filled as part of his downtown revitalization goals.
“We need to try to get businesses in there where business is idle,” he said.
Ragland also wants to reach out to the city’s senior citizens.
When the new library is finished, he would like to designate the existing library building as a senior center, if he is elected as mayor. Currently, the seniors meet at the Warrior Community Center, which is also used for other events.
He said that maintaining the city’s police and fire departments and ensuring they are well-equipped is another of his top priorities.
As for his qualifications for the city’s top job, Ragland said serving as mayor pro tem for the past four years and taking classes with the Alabama League of Municipalities has given him invaluable experience.
He added that he works well with people.
“That’s what you’ve got to do,” he said.
Turner served on the Warrior City Council in the 1992-1996 term.
“Since that time, I’ve thought seriously about (serving as mayor),” he said. “I really think I could be of a good service to the city.”
In 2008, he ran unsuccessfully for mayor against Hudson.
If elected, Turner said one of his biggest goals would be to help foster a better relationship between Warrior’s merchants and the city.
“There has been talk about doing a merchant’s association or a chamber of commerce,” he said. “They feel they don’t have any representation at all.”
In addition, Turner said he wants to see more beautification projects in Warrior.
“When I started as a councilman, we started (beautification efforts) but then it stopped,” he said. “I’d like to see that happen.”
A third goal of Turner’s is to save the city money by being thrifty, spending wisely and “realigning some funds.”
Turner, who is pastor of the Progressive Church of Victory since 1984, said his experience, knowledge and dedication to the city would help him be a good mayor.
He recently earned his doctorate in theology, an education that he said further equips him to lead the city.
“I’ve gained some knowledge there. I believe the more knowledge you have, if you apply it, you can get better results,” he said.
Turner said he has also learned that in order to accomplish anything in a group setting, such as a city council, those involved must first understand their differences and why they exist. They must then learn to “compromise a little bit and come to an agreement,” he said.