3 candidates running for mayor of Ozark

Published: Aug. 17, 2016 at 8:58 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2016 at 12:24 AM CDT
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OZARK, AL (WSFA) - Three candidates are vying to be the next mayor of Ozark.

In March, Ozark Mayor Billy Blackwell announced he wasn't running for re-election.

One candidate, Bob Bunting, has 12 years of experience as mayor of Ozark. Bunting has also served as the city's economic developer and chief of staff at Fort Rucker.

Bunting says he's ready to return to politics.

"For those 12 years, the city grew. We built this municipal building. If you ride up and down [Highway] 231, nearly every restaurant, fast food, auto zone, motels/hotels, were all done during those times I was in office," Bunting said.

Mike Barefield is a small business owner and Ozark city councilman.

He's operated Barefield's for 31 years and has served on the council for 28.

Barefield says through speaking with residents he's discovered there's a need for better paying jobs.

"You run your city like you run a business. You have to be financially responsible, and that's what I've always tried to do in my business and that's what I've tried to do as a city councilman for all these years and as a mayor I'll continue in that vain," Barefield said.

Andy Gilland is a technical inspector in quality control for army aviation fleet at Fort Rucker. He's also president of the Ozark city council.

He has several years of experience in city government.

Gilland says his focus will be strengthening the bond between city and military leadership.

"Fort Rucker is the main driving catalyst of the city of Ozark, and I know how important it is. I know how good it is to have a nice decent paying job to where you can afford to better yourself in life to afford a nicer home and a nicer car," Gilland said.

These candidates will continue to campaign over the next several days. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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