ELECTION GUIDE: West Point Council Race

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, November 4, 2023

By Charlotte Reames

Citizens of West Point will have the chance to pick from a large group of city council candidates on Tuesday. With election day nearing, each candidate answered a few last-minute questions to help distinguish themselves from the rest.

Three city council spots are open in the six person field. Since West Point uses at-large voting, the top three vote-getters will be elected. Incumbents Jerry Ledbetter and Sandra Thornton are hoping to retain their roles while Aaron Lewis, Kevin Patrick, Andra Haynes and Sean Moore are running for the first time.

Jerry Ledbetter

1. What’s your last-second pitch on why someone should vote for you?

“During my time on the city council, the community has made great progress and we’ve witnessed new businesses, we’ve witnessed the rejuvenation of downtown West Point … We have a better quality of life today than we did just a few short years ago.”

2. List your top three priorities.

“To see continued growth and development both downtown and throughout the community. I think my number two priority would be to see us expand on some of these tax Homestead Act exemptions … A third goal for me is personally to see the millage rate completely eliminated and for us to be like Lagrange.”

3. Of those three, which one can you immediately make a difference in? How and why?

“I think we could have the homestead exemption in place this next year for the next tax bill. I think it could be that quick. I don’t think anybody would be against that.”

4. How would you handle a situation where the majority of the council felt differently than you, and you needed to sway their opinion?

“I do my best to work with others on the council and to reach a consensus. I think it’s best to talk to people to try to work out differences.”

5. What’s an interesting fact about you that voters may not know?

“I play the mountain dulcimer.”

Sandra Thornton

What’s your last-second pitch on why someone should vote for you?

“Because I’m qualified. I have the experience. I have the education. and I have the heart and love for the city.”

List your top three priorities.

“More resources for the seniors, more resources for the children and the third priority would be for more communication with elected officials and the community.”

Of those three, which one can you immediately make a difference in? How and why?

“I would like to make a difference in number three, the communication, because I have learned a lot.”

How would you handle a situation where the majority of the council felt differently than you, and you needed to sway their opinion?

“One vote is not going to get you anywhere. It takes everybody coming together to get anything accomplished. And there’s been times when everybody decided to vote a little bit different, and you just kind of brushed that off your shoulder and you go on.”

What’s an interesting fact about you that voters may not know?

“I have been around long enough throughout the community. I think they know everything. They know everything about me.”

Aaron Lewis

What’s your last-second pitch on why someone should vote for you?

“More than anything, I’m going to work hard to make sure the citizens of West Point will get everything that they deserve … and as we pursue new business opportunities, you need someone who has a background like mine … I can make more of an impact if I’m given that role and responsibility of city council that the city deserves.”

List your top three priorities.

“Making sure each citizen has basic needs; food, clothing, shelter; a good education, quality paying jobs.”

Of those three, which one can you immediately make a difference in? How and why?

“I believe education will probably be definitely a huge priority. I don’t know what our future plans are for the city in terms of maybe wanting to get our own middle school or high school or charter school. I don’t know what that looks like in the future. But that’s something that I definitely want to discuss as part of the city council to see what we can do to help further that.”

How would you handle a situation where the majority of the council felt differently than you, and you needed to sway their opinion?

“I think it is more so about calming your emotions, being able to see other people’s perspectives, and then just sit down and think about the pros and cons and lay it out.”

What’s an interesting fact about you that voters may not know?

“I’m a drummer, and I’ve played for over 20 years now.”

Kevin Patrick

What’s your last-second pitch on why someone should vote for you?

“I would like to be the type of city councilor that goes and gets the feedback from the citizens exactly what they want, and then move towards some of those things. We can make that still happen. My approach has always been a proactive approach.”

List your top three priorities.

“Housing would be one of my main issues … Recreation is a big deal … Also just improving the communication. The citizens, sometimes I’ve heard, they feel like they don’t have a voice.”

Of those three, which one can you immediately make a difference in? How and why?

“I think the communication part is key. Serving in these different roles and capacities within the city already, I have relationships already with a lot of people. So if something needs to be done and or a phone call needs to be made, nine times out of 10, I just about know who to call to get things done.”

How would you handle a situation where the majority of the council felt differently than you, and you needed to sway their opinion?

“If there is a time where me and the rest of the council members don’t see eye to eye on something, I do my research, I do my communication, my due diligence, and look at every aspect of whatever it is and trying to see if we can come to some common ground.”

What’s an interesting fact about you that voters may not know?

“If you know me, you know me. I’m a family guy, God-fearing man.”

Andra Haynes

What’s your last-second pitch on why someone should vote for you?

“Vote for me because I want to serve the community. I want to be the voice for the citizen,s and I want them to know that they have someone that is going to stand up for them and represent them in a positive, honest and transparent manner.”

List your top three priorities.

“The first on my list is to continue to engage with the citizens of West Point … Recreation is definitely at the top of my list. The next thing I would say is, it was brought to my attention, not having a public library here.”

Of those three, which one can you immediately make a difference in? How and why?

“I would think the one that would take the least amount of focus could potentially be the library situation because we already have a structure for that. I think it would be large enough to accommodate our needs.”

How would you handle a situation where the majority of the council felt differently than you, and you needed to sway their opinion?

“I feel like I’m going to present what is factual and true, and I’m gonna stand on that premise. And when the rest of the council will see the facts that are being presented to them, hopefully, that will change their minds.”

What’s an interesting fact about you that voters may not know?

“I regard my calling to be a helper. I love helping people, and that’s one of the reasons I have decided to run for city council.”

Sean Moore

What’s your last-second pitch on why someone should vote for you?

“What you see is this who I am, and I’m going to answer you honestly and sometimes it may not be what people want to hear.”

List your top three priorities.

“I do know some people in the community are interested in having meetings with my city council members and different people.”

Of those three, which one can you immediately make a difference in? How and why?

“I’d like to be able to just reach out and talk to people and have just, a once a week or a few times a month, just to have some one-on-one with small groups of people in the community.”

How would you handle a situation where the majority of the council felt differently than you, and you needed to sway their opinion?

“I would do the best I could to discuss my point of view and let the public and the voters express their opinions.”

What’s an interesting fact about you that voters may not know?

“I like working on cars.”