Franklin residents cast vote for change
Despite a crowded field in the Franklin election — a dozen candidates in all — a handful of victors emerged as clear frontrunners ahead of the pack.
Most of the winning candidates for aldermen and mayor reflect a public desire for change.
“The credit goes to the people who wanted a change and worked for it,” said Bob Scott, an alderman who won the mayor’s race by a landslide.
The three winning aldermen handily pulled down the lion’s share of votes in that race. A wide margin separated those top three vote-getters from the rest of the field — with more than a 100-vote spread between the fourth-place and third-place candidates.
The top two winners in the aldermen’s race will be new to the town board.
“I am looking forward to working with the new board coming in and the new mayor, continuing to grow our town in a positive way while staying true to our roots,” said Patti Halyburton Abel, 41. Abel is the owner of Abel Wellness downtown, a Pilates, movement, martial arts and massage studio.
She also has a 5-year-old, which ultimately inspired her to want a voice in shaping the town’s future.
Barbara McRae, also a winner in the aldermen race, said the race was energized by the large number of candidates.
“It was so exciting to have so many people running, and so many young people,” she said. “I think you could see how much interest there was in the race by the turnout.”
Voter turnout was 14 percent in the Franklin municipal election.
In the mayor’s race, Bob Scott pulled out an impressive win over Sissy Pattillo. Both had been town aldermen but relinquished those seats to make a run for mayor.
While both had been on the town board for years, they had different leadership styles. Scott was more likely to be an odd man out when controversial votes came down and was heralded as the candidate that represented change.
“My platform I think resonated with the public: open government, a voice for everybody and no favoritism,” Scott said. “That, and opening the door for young people to take part in town business.”
Scott said he was surprised by how much he won by.
“I didn’t sleep hardly a wink last night. I didn’t think we would pull it off,” Scott said.
Scott said his campaign was ultimately carried by a cadre of supporters who came out of the woodworks to forge a grassroots movement around him. Scott ended up with more than $3,000 in campaign donations, despite not soliciting any.
“People just gave it to me,” Scott said. “I didn’t ask for a penny of contributions. I don’t want money to obligate me.”
Scott plans to carry through with his campaign promise to hold informal town hall meetings once a month where people can come “drink coffee and eat donuts and shoot the breeze” as part of his mission to make the town more inclusive.
As mayor, Scott hopes to encourage more active dialogue and critical decision-making by the town. He wants to make all the aldermen feel included, even those he wasn’t always on the same side of issues with in the past.
“I am not a believer in group think,” Scott said. “I do want the town board to express their opinions. If we come up with something, I want them to pick it apart and tell me what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong. I don’t want a rubber stamp.”
Scott is a retired reporter, making for two former newspaper people on the town board. McRae recently retired as editor of The Franklin Press.
“You can bet your bottom dollar we will be adhering to the open meeting and public records law,” Scott said jovially.
Bob Scott: 493
Sissy Pattillo: 181
Franklin Town Board
(three seats open)
Barbara McRae: 373
Patti Halyburton Abel: 337
Billy Mashburn: 292
Angela Hubbs Moore: 187
Thomas Ritter: 164
Emmanuel Carrion: 159
Mack Brogden: 117
Adam Kimsey: 101
Marshall Henson: 84
W. H. Derrick: 60