CLINTON – The current mayor, a former mayor and a political newcomer all agree on one thing: Clinton needs infrastructure improvements.
Incumbent mayor Lori Ann Bell, former mayor Don Reason and newcomer Melvin Spears each believe they can help provide the solutions for the town’s woes.
The three will vie for the mayor's post when voters head to the polls on Nov. 8 for the primary election. Early voting begins Oct. 25.
Bell thwarted Reason's bid for a second term four years ago in a close contest and Reason wants his old job back. Bell and Spears are both Democrats while Reason is a Republican.
Bell, 55, served on the town council from 2008 to 2012. She has been a member of the East Feliciana Economic Development Board, the Louisiana Municipal Gas Association and East Feliciana Tourism Commission. She attended college for three years.
Bell said the condition of the streets and drainage issues have been neglected for 30-plus years and she sees glaring need to improve them. She said the town has secured a $500,000 grant through the Louisiana Community Block Grant through the Department of Administration’s Office of Community Development. Work through that grant already has been completed, and her office is looking for other grants to help with other parts of the town.
“Infrastructure is the biggest challenge we face here in Clinton,” said Bell. “We also need to promote growth within the town.”
Reason, 70, who is retired, is a member of the board of the Council on Aging and a financial secretary with the Knights of Columbus attaining fourth degree status. He earned two associate degrees: electronic technician and television technician.
He described being mayor as a “thankless job” and said the position requires someone to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Like Bell, he said the biggest issues facing Clinton over the next four years are the conditions of streets, sewers and water along with trying to attract growth to the town.
“I know people to contact for grants and how to use the monies we bring in through the grants and allocate them to us in the town,” Reason said. “I know how to manage the money properly.”
Spears, 56, has a master’s degree plus 30 in administration leadership and computer science. He is a former head football coach at Grambling State University and is a member of the Alcorn State Football Hall of Fame. He worked in private sector for 13 years. He has been a member of Hyman Chapel Church all his life and is the director of the church food bank.
Spears said his motto is “Champion for change — Teamwork makes the dream work.” He said infrastructure is the number one priority, and he wants to develop a priority plan to obtain funding. Reviving tourism and the hospitality industries are key components of his strategy while preserving the town’s treasures.
In addition, he wants to recruit new businesses to locate in Clinton and he said, “We must increase job opportunities and revenues.”