Luster unseats Hamrick in commission chairman’s race
by James Phillips
Nov 07, 2012 | 3404 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Billy Luster, left, looks over election returns Tuesday night at the CHS Activities Center in downtown Jasper. Luster won his bid to become chairman of the Walker County Commission. – Photo by: James Phillips.
Billy Luster, left, looks over election returns Tuesday night at the CHS Activities Center in downtown Jasper. Luster won his bid to become chairman of the Walker County Commission. – Photo by: James Phillips.
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Area voters opted for change Tuesday by electing Republian Billy Luster as chairman of the Walker County Commission.

Luster picked up 14,392 votes (51.7 percent) to win the election over incumbent Bruce Hamrick who totaled 13,438 votes.

Luster said citizens were ready for a change.

“I’m thankful for this opportunity,” he said. “I’m so thankful for everyone that came out to support me today, and I’m going to work hard for all the citizens of Walker County.”

Hamrick, who served four terms as commission chairman, said he enjoyed each of his 16 years on the job.

“I’ve been chairman for a long time — a lot longer than I ever expected,” he said. “This experience has been a blessing.”

Luster said he respects the work Hamrick has done during his tenure as chairman and welcomes any help Hamrick can provide in the coming days.

“This was a hard fought fight. Bruce ran a clean campaign and I appreciate that,” Luster said. “It will be a little over a week before I take office, and I think we’ll be able to work together to make the transition smooth.”

After conceding the race to Luster, Hamrick said he would help during the change in leadership.

“I told Billy that I will help in any way that I can,” Hamrick said. “I care about Walker County, and I want to be sure that this change is smooth.”

Luster said he’s ready to “get to work.”

“I want us to start working immediately to improve Walker County,” he said. “There are a lot of good things about our county, but I want to see us make it even better. I plan on working hard from the start.”

Hamrick, a Democrat, said he thought the anti-Obama vote is what cost him the race.

“The other side had more resources and finances this time around,” Hamrick said. “They did their best to tie any Democrat to Obama, and it looks like that worked and got people to go vote.”