Eight people have qualified to run for alderman for the City of Portland in the Nov. 3 election.
Vice-Mayor John Kerley and Alderman Brian Harbin will not seek re-election. Four seats will be available.
Alderman Jody McDowell is seeking re-election to the position he has held since 2003. He is a patrol deputy with the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office. He is also the owner of Cash-N-Checks.
McDowell said, “I love to serve the people. I enjoy the challenge. I receive a lot of phone calls because people feel they know me. I like to be that contact person.”
Alderman Thomas Dillard is also seeking re-election. Dillard was appointed to finish the aldermen term that Mayor Mike Callis vacated when he was elected mayor. Dillard is owner/operator at 3D Blasting, a power washing service provider.
“The past year-and-a-half has given me so many opportunities to help the citizens of Portland that not seeking re-election is simply not an option. Besides that, the experience is greatly needed for my future goal of becoming mayor (in) 2022,” Dillard said.
Candidate Brian Woodall is a local businessman, who owns Bloomin’ Deals, and is retired from the U. S. Army.
Woodall said, “I simply love Portland and everything about this city that we call home. The job of alderman is to serve the citizens and listen to their concerns in order to better the quality of life for all. There is nothing more important than to see prosperity and growth in Portland over the coming years.”
Candidate Penny Barnes is employed by ITW, as division HR Manager for North American Stamped Fasteners in Gallatin.
Barnes said, “Being on city council will give me the opportunity to serve our community and my hometown that I cherish. I have over 20 years serving people and business during my HR career.”
Candidate Gail Gentry is a realtor with Exit Realty Garden Gate Team. Gentry is currently serving on three city committees and is active with the Portland Chamber of Commerce.
Gentry said, “I decided to run for the council because I love Portland and I love serving the people of Portland. I want to see Portland move forward but also keep the small-town values that we have.”
Candidate James Toney is in HVAC sales and has been in the industry for over 20 years.
“I am running for alderman because I would like to give back to the City of Portland, and listen to the pros and cons of the community. I would like to be the voice for the citizens of Portland,” Toney said.
Candidate Chirag Patel owns and operates two businesses in Portland - Drakewood Market on Highway 52 and Drakewood Auto Sales on North Russell.
Patel said, “I believe that change is needed, not only for the residents but also for the business owners. I feel that in order to make forward progress a city has to grow, and I feel the best way to do that is to have a new set of eyes, ears, and ideas.”
Candidate Lloyd Dunn works for Med Center Health. Dunn refers readers to his web site for more information about his reasons for seeking a seat on the city council. That site is located at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two aldermen will step down
Kerley said, “I made the decision not to seek re-election due to Bev and my health. Bev was told about her cancer this past April and I had already been diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2018. Our son, Beau, and his family who live in Georgetown, Indiana were wanting us to move to be with them. So, in May we started having a home built in Georgetown, just a few streets from where they live. We are looking forward to finally being able to spend time with our grandchildren.
“I am pleased that we could do the renovations to the city hall and the surrounding area and keep it in the downtown business corridor. I am pleased that progress has been made on creating a museum for Portland. Also, I take pride in seeing the rebirth of Main Street. I know that Mayor Callis and the council will continue to do an excellent job of leading Portland through the growth that is happening now and in the coming months. Bev and I love Portland and will miss our family and the many wonderful friends that live here.”
Brian Harbin said, “I served two terms. I certainly may run again sometime, but right now, I just feel I am too busy to dedicate the time and attention that the position deserves.”
Election Day is Nov. 3 and early voting starts on Wednesday, Oct. 14. Registered voters can early vote in Gallatin at Freedom Church from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. through Oct. 29, Mondays through Fridays. Saturday voting is from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. Portland will have a satellite location at First Baptist Church of Portland on Oct. 15 and 16 from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Other satellite locations are listed on the election office web page at votesumnertn.org.
Absentee By-Mail Ballot applications for the Nov. 3 election must be requested by Oct. 27. To see if you are eligible, contact the election office.