The special election for the Ward 5 council seat is set.
Four candidates officially qualified for the election by Wednesday’s deadline. The candidates for the Columbus City Council post are Cadarrall Eddings, Gary Jefferson, Stephen Jones and Marthalie Porter, according to Brenda Williams, city registrar.
The election — scheduled for Feb. 16 — will fill the currently vacant Ward 5 seat on the council. The post was vacated in late December by Kabir Karriem, who was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives.
Eddings, 33, is a Columbus native. He has lived in Ward 5 for five years. He works in the surgical department at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle.
“My motivation is that I want to serve the people of Ward 5 and make sure they are empowered to prosper and give them hope,” he told The Dispatch this morning.
Eddings said he is running for the position with a platform consisting of three specifics goals.
“First, to reform society and bring change,” he said. “Second, to strengthen the community. And, third, to empower individuals to succeed.”
Eddings is married to Karla Eddings. The couple has two children.
Jefferson, 49, said he hopes to bring unity to the city.
A supervisor/superintendent at Johnson/Tombigbee Furniture Manufacturing Company, he is a lifelong Columbus resident. He said he’s lived in Ward 5 for 25 years.
He said his focus would be bridging the gap between the community and Columbus Police Department in particular. He said that would be a vital step in stopping some of the crime that’s plagued recently plagued the city.
“I want to see councilmen, police and the community together as one to discourage some of the things going on,” Jefferson said. “I know it won’t stop everything, but if we can show unity I know somebody’s life will be impacted, because they can see that we’re trying to work together.”
Jones, 46, emphasizes making Columbus safer as his primary reason for running.
“That means safety for the elderly, safety for the community,” he said. “I have to make sure, as a councilman, that everyone is safe, especially with all the shootings we’ve had lately. We have to make sure the police department is fully funded to keep the area safe.”
Jones said he also hopes to bring more activities for Columbus’ youth who are between the ages of 13 to 18 years old. He said giving them more things to do will keep them out of trouble and, as such, help make the city safer.
He is a lifelong Columbus resident. A real estate agent, Jones has lived in Ward 5 for most of his life.
Porter, 58, grew up in Ward 5 before moving away. She said she and her husband moved back to the home she grew up in about 10 years ago. She operates Porter Wireless Group.
Porter said safety in the city was a major factor in her decision to run.
“We have a new police chief coming on board and we need to give him and the department all of our support,” she said. “Keeping the public safe is a shared responsibility between the police and the public.”
If elected, Porter said she hoped to encourage police-public cooperation through working with neighborhood watch groups. She said they also help bring communities together by introducing neighbors to each other.
Porter also pointed to the school system as needing support.
She said she worked as the Columbus Main Street manager in the late 1990s before moving away.
Dispatch reporter Slim Smith contributed to this report.
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.
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