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Douglas holds onto mayor’s seat in Junction

 

Jim Douglas will remain mayor of Junction City, after earning 408 votes compared to challenger Dewayne Taylor’s 341.

When asked if he was surprised with his vote tally, Douglas said, “Not really, no. I had a pretty good idea.” He said he really didn’t know why he “wouldn’t win.”

“I’ve been here a long time, and you always make a few enemies.”

Three new faces will be joining the Junction City Council come January.

“When you’ve got eight people (running for six seats), there’s got to be winners and losers,” Douglas said. “I think we’ve got a good council.”

Douglas said he doesn’t perceive any major changes coming for Junction.

“Things seem to work quite well the way they’re going; I don’t see that anything needs to change.”

Taylor said he knew it would be close race, so he wasn’t really surprised with the 61-vote difference between them. However, he said former mayoral candidate Denise Curtsinger, who pulled out of the race, was still listed on the ballot, and he thinks that could have played a role.

“I’m not asking for a recount. I congratulated (Douglas), and in four years, I plan on re-running,” he said.

Taylor said the fact he couldn’t make a scheduled candidate forum, which was held over fall break, due to a trip planned with his family a year in advance, could have affected the result.

“I let them know as soon as it was scheduled … But you can only do so much to get the word out on social media on why you’re not somewhere. Some probably didn’t think I took it as serious as I did.”

City council

Incumbent council member Kenny Baldwin got the most votes with 434. He’s no stranger to council business.

“This is probably my seventh or eighth term on the council,” he said. “It’s been a while. Can’t remember the exact year I came on. I think we’re going in the right direction with a lot of stuff.”

Baldwin wants to continue working on a new city hall.

“Our buildings are in really bad shape. It’s been something in the works for three, four years now. It’s been a long, drawn-out process.”

He’s seen the council come a long way, he said.

“We’ve worked up to a point where we do have money to do stuff with … Really and truly, we’re in better shape right now than this city has ever been in. Everything we’ve got is paid for.” He said the city is currently working on getting new equipment for the fire and police department, and has a firm helping it work on grants to pay for a new city hall.

“We’ve done a good job. When I first got on, we were having to scrimp just to make payroll — and borrow money, just to make payroll. Now, we’ve got money to do what needs to be done. One of the reasons of that is the mayor really watches how we spend.”

Incumbent council member Bill McCowan came in second with 426 votes. He said he’d like to continue working on getting a new city hall.

“As far as any surprises, I knew a lot of them would be close, but I was surprised Sonya (Kitchen, incumbent) didn’t get back on. She’s really good.”

Kitchen came in second-from-last with 344 votes. She didn’t return a call for comment.  

Connie Vernon made the cut, just above Kitchen, with 355. She was also very surprised Kitchen didn’t get back on.

“She’s been an asset to the city,” Vernon said.

Vernon served on the council years ago, under former Mayor Harold Leach.

“I’d like to continue the upkeep of the roads, but the city is doing a fantastic job. Not really going in to correct anything. They’re doing fantastic, but I would like to see a few mature trees planted in the cemetery.”

Vickie Bowling and Mary Hurst were also voted in as new council members, and incumbent Steve Martin stayed on with 386 votes. Scott Terry did not make it, coming in last with 274 votes.