PARRISH - Three candidates are seeking to be mayor of Parrish, as the current mayor, La'Tisha Oliver decided not to seek election for a full term.
Oliver took over as mayor in July 2019 after Heather Hall resigned as her family was moving to Mobile. Both were thought to be the first two female mayors of the town - but the three candidates in Tuesday's election are all men.
Councilman Jared "Bubba" Cagle, 36, said he has always lived in Parrish, adding he loves to live there. He graduated as valedictorian from Parrish High School in 2002. He has a fiance, Kayse Brown (who has two children, Liam and Lexi Brown), and two sons, Garrett Pate, 19, and Trace Cagle, 13.
He has a bachelor's degree from Athens State University in special education, and is working on a master's degree from University of West Alabama. Cagle teaches special education at Parrish Elementary/Middle School.
Cagle noted he founded the Parrish Christmas Giveaway, which is coming up on its 11th year. He is a wrestler with New Era Wrestling, having toured the Southeast for 15 years. He is serving his first term on the Parrish City Council.
Asked why he is running for mayor, he said, his main goal is to continue to clean up the town, as well as "eliminating debt by cutting unneeded expenses in order to help the town become financially proficient."
"I just want to continue the progress Mayor Oliver has started, along with the rest of the council. Mainly, I love this place and I want to see it progress and get out of the hole it has been in. Mayor Oliver has done a good job during the year she has been in there. I just want to continue that, cleaning this place and making it look good and make it a place people can care about again and show some pride."
Tommy Davis, 42, said he has lived in Parrish for 20 something years. He is currently unemployed and looking for a job. He once worked as an assistant at the Walker County Emergency Management Agency. He noted he has had some health issues, but that has stabilized now.
Davis graduated from Austin High School in Decatur. He has two children, Lily, 19, and Miles, 2. He also serves with Barney Volunteer Fire Department near Yerkwood.
"I want to finish getting the roads fixed and I want to finish the park, only with grant funds so the kids can play at dark," he said. "When Wayne Gross was in (as mayor), the contractor tore up the lighting over there at the park. So now they can't play at dark. Everything has to be played before then."
He said he wants to bring the police department "back to where it needs to be."
James “Smitty” Smith Jr. could not be reached for comment but has also qualified to run for mayor. In a paid political announcement when he unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Parrish in 2016, Smith noted his public service includes four years on the town council, four years on the water board and four years on the Walker County Civil Service Board. Smith has also worked for the town’s street and sanitation department, was a member of law enforcement for several years and retired from Alabama Power after 26 years. “With my experience, I believe I would make a great mayor for the town of Parrish,” he said at the time.
For more Election 2020 coverage from the Daily Mountain Eagle, visit www.mountaineagle.com/election2020.