By Christopher Smith
Several elected officials, many of whom make some of the most important decisions impacting the local community, are either stepping down or up for re-election on Election Day, Nov. 5.
Qualifying began Monday for several elected positions in Whitfield and Murray counties. Qualifying in the cities of Cohutta and Chatsworth runs Wednesday through Friday.
Tate O’Gwin qualified to run for Ward 2 on the City Council, while Gary Crews qualified for Ward 4. O’Gwin is a first-timer, said an administrator with the City Clerk’s office, while Crews is running for re-election. Dick Lowrey, who currently serves from Ward 2, has said he will not run again.
Sherwood Jones III and Steve Laird both qualified to run for the Dalton Board of Education. Two seats are up for re-election. Board members Mark Orr and Steve Williams have said they will not seek re-election. Seats on the city school board are not divided by region.
Qualifying continues today and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. The qualifying fee for City Council is $360 and the fee for the Board of Education is $35.
David Owens resigned Monday from Seat 5 of the Varnell City Council and qualified to run for mayor, said City Clerk Pam Garrison. Mayor Dan Peeples has said he will not seek re-election.
City officials will hold a special meeting today to determine when qualifying for Seat 5 will be, Garrison said, adding that the position will go into the same election set for Nov. 5.
Ashlee Godfrey qualified to run for Seat 1 on the City Council held by James Caldwell. Caldwell did not qualify on Monday.
Garrison said no one came in to qualify for Seat 2, currently held by Brent Newsome. Newsome did not qualify on Monday.
Qualifying continues today and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. The qualifying fee is $35.
Ray Anderson, incumbent for Post 3 on the City Council, and Mayor Kenny Gowin, incumbent for Post 5, both qualified Monday. No one qualified for Post 4, currently held by Alfred “Hub” Griffin. The City Council selects the mayor from council members.
Qualifying continues at City Hall today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The qualifying fee is $35.
Billy Cantrell, who was elected mayor in a special election in July 2008, is running for a second term, said City Clerk Kim Hall. No one qualified to run against him on Monday, Hall said.
The City Council has two posts open, one vacant (Post 1) and one held by Steve Shaw (Post 2). Hall said no one came in Monday to qualify for either of those positions.
Qualifying at City Hall continues today trough Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The qualifying fees are $117 for City Council and $156 for mayor.