Jerry Parris unseats George Areno for Jacksonville City Council spot
by Paige Rentz
Oct 10, 2012 | 3164 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JACKSONVILLE — In a bid for City Council that focused on support for city schools, Jerry Parris unseated incumbent City Councilman George Areno on Tuesday night.

“There’s no major issue I want to go in pressing other than making sure we include our kids in our thought patterns when we do our budget,” Parris said. With cuts to federal and state funding, he said, local governments must pick up the slack to provide for their children.

“Even though I won, I’m disappointed at the number of folks that came out for the election,” he said.

It took fewer than 500 votes for Parris to emerge as the victor in the runoff for City Council Place 1, with 471 over Areno’s 288. Areno agreed that voter turnout was lackluster.

“The percentage of people that actually voted in this election is such a small percent that it doesn’t represent the city,” he said.

In the Aug. 28 municipal election, Parris pulled in 798 votes over Areno’s 506 in the three-way race with Guy Bonds.

“I’m very disappointed in my showing in this particular race,” Areno said, congratulating Parris on his win.

Both candidates were vying for their third term on the council, Areno as a two-term incumbent, Parris for a new seat after losing re-election four years ago to Derek Raulerson.

Retired from the Army and the Anniston Army Depot, Areno, 74, has been in Alabama since 1958 and worked for the city for a brief time beginning in about 1960. His campaign focused largely on long-range financial and capital planning for the city.

Parris, 65, spent a career as an engineer with the federal government and works as a consultant and adjunct instructor at Gadsden State Community College in his retirement.

Parris completes the five-member council, which assumes a new form next month compared to the previous council. The new configuration, brought about by a population change in the last census, removes the mayor as a voting member and presiding officer of the council and places many of his duties on a council president to be elected from among its members.

“I’m elated,” Parris said of his win. He congratulated Areno on a good campaign. “I felt like if it would have been reversed, the city would have been served well,” he said.

Star staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.
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