2 candidates face off in Wetumpka Mayoral race

Published: Aug. 10, 2016 at 9:45 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2016 at 8:06 PM CDT
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Emmitt Johnson (Source: WSFA 12)
Emmitt Johnson (Source: WSFA 12)

WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) - Two men are vying for the position of mayor of the city of Wetumpka. The candidates, who will be on the ballot later this month, include a two-term incumbent, and a political newcomer.

Incumbent Jerry Willis and Emmitt Johnson agree the City of Wetumpka needs more growth, but they have different ideas of how to achieve it.

"Our recreational plans have been expanded greatly, our senior citizen plans have been expanded," Willis said. "Our downtown renovation plan is underway now."

Willis wants to finish what he started: another phase on the recreational parks and downtown development.

Johnson is seeking inclusive growth for all citizens.

"How do I differ from what's already being done?" Johnson asked. "I think what we are doing right now really focuses on one segment of our community, one segment being the downtown area. We are a waterfront community, which is the most marketable area you can have for growth."

Willis is focused on increasing revenue that has grown under his administration, expecting a boost from a new hotel.

"We now have a place to put them up at night," Willis said of sports and concert attendees. "Now they will spend more time with us and more money with us."

Both agree, full support of law enforcement is paramount.

Willis was involved in the ouster of former Police Chief Celia Dixon, who filed a federal lawsuit against the city on grounds of gender and age bias, which is still being litigated.

"As a whole, we are much better from top to bottom than we were before," Willis explained.

Johnson realizes he is up against the establishment, but he's working to make safety, quality of life and business development something everyone can accomplish in Wetumpka.

"There are issues that are underlying and I felt those as I walked every street," Johnson said. "I am doing it because I care about my community, I am passionate about the change I want to see. I'm not worried about a system that has been in place for years."

The election is slated for Aug. 23.

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