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Voters re-elect all four Danville commissioners

All four incumbent Danville City commissioners made the cut to return to service at city hall. Commissioners Kevin Caudill, J.H. Atkins, Denise Terry and Rick Serres defeated newcomers Charles Singleton and Ron Devrick.

“I never expect that,” said Atkins, the top vote-getter, coming in at 2,994. “My goal was to be in the top four.”

However, he said he was hoping all four incumbents would return because “we’ve started some major projects and I was hoping we’d come back to finish them.”

Atkins said as far as his win is concerned, he had to thank the community. “And my dedicated supporters … We’ve walked and asked people to support us again.” He said others who had come before him, like Bunny Davis and Alex Stevens (former commissioners), always set the example for him.

“They always said, if you really want to be a successful public servant, people deserve for you to talk and ask for the vote. That’s what I’ve tried to do.”

Atkins said he is “pleasantly surprised all four of us are back.”

Challenger Devrick, who didn’t make the cut, said he didn’t find it a “total surprise.”

“I’m not a native Danvillian, so I lacked name recognition, because obviously the four incumbents didn’t do a lot of door-to-door,” Devrick said. “So all they did was put out signs … I have to give it to them for having name recognition, so it is what it is. I wish them well.”

Devrick said he was a bit surprised “in that I thought there would be a little bit more disparity in the votes.”

Devrick pulled in 1,286. “I have to accept the fact that people voted, and they chose to go the same way that they have in the past. I have to abide by their wishes — that’s the nature of democracy.”

Devrick said he will continue to go to commission meetings, and that he feels he has “constructive suggestions to offer,” and wants to be involved. “I don’t know that the commissioners are getting all of the information they need to make the kind of choices that they need to make. They’re at the end of their rope, so to speak, as far as their ability to tax is concerned.”

“I was just out getting celebratory ice cream,” incumbent Commissioner Terry said, who received the third highest votes at 2,818. “I wasn’t surprised. I felt like we were going to be OK, or I was hoping we would be. We’ve all worked so well together for the last four years, and we have a lot of momentum and things in the works I wanted to continue.”

Terry noted how the city recently closed on purchasing the two properties next to city hall to build a new central fire station. “We get to start the project and get to finish it.”

Terry said as far as how she ran her campaign, she didn’t get to do as much door-to-door as she would’ve liked, and that she mostly “concentrated on getting letters to the editor. But I made sure that I was other places, as well, like charity events and things like that.”

New challenger Singleton came in second-to-last, at 1,593. He said he’s a little bit disappointed, but “it was my first run. I’ve got two years to prepare for the next one.”

As far as what he’d change about running his next campaign, Singleton said he’d do “a whole lot more homework next time. I’d knock on a few more doors.” He said for the last two weeks of his campaign, he had a health issue slow him down some.

“I guess that hurt me a little bit. It is what it is, I hold no grudges. It’s a good learning curve, and I’m looking forward to the next election. I plan on staying involved, going to the meetings. I’m going to come back stronger than I was this time.”

Incumbent Commissioner Serres said the outcome didn’t surprise him. He came in fourth out of the winning incumbents, with 2,571.

“I was feeling pretty good about it. I was in fourth place, so you never know,” he said. “But no, I wasn’t nervous. I don’t do that. Life goes on, I’ve got too many things going on to get nervous about this.”

Serres said he considers Atkins, Terry and Commissioner Kevin Caudill — who earned the second-most votes at 2,971 — a “good group I’m working with. I’m pleased to be with them, whether I’m the first or the fourth vote-getter. It’s kind of like a relay team, the weakest runner has to do his part, right?”

Serres also said the commission has “got some good things in the works. Every city commission, when they end their term, there’s something in the hopper that needs to be done. It’s up to the voters on whether they want to see us finish the job. And it’s apparent, some folks like what we’ve done and want to keep it rolling.”