Meet the candidates in this Q&A

Seven candidates are seeking to become Gadsden’s mayor in the city election scheduled for Aug. 23.

The winner — a runoff will be held Sept. 20 if no candidate receives a majority of votes in the initial election — will be the city’s first new mayor in 16 years; Sherman Guyton, first elected in 2006, is not seeking re-election after serving four terms.

The new mayor takes office on Nov. 7.

The contenders are former City Council member Robert Avery; local businessman Ron “Bunchie” Barnard; Craig Ford, longtime state legislator; Dr. John Jacobs, a local pastor; Heather Brothers New, former president and chief executive officer of The Chamber of Gadsden & Etowah County and a business owner; local businessman and truck driver Michael Shell; and current City Council member Thomas Worthy.

The Times asked each candidate to answer two questions: What are your short-term goals should you be elected, and what are your long-term goals should you be elected? Their answers are presented here in full as they were submitted (minor grammatical editing was done). 

Robert Avery

Robert Avery

My short-term goals are the same as my long-term goals. 

All my goals start on Day One. 

When elected mayor, I will create a Department of Youth Services. This department will collaborate with our school system and with local businesses to identify young people who have decided on their career paths. This program will give them some experience in the careers they have chosen. By working together, the city and the businesses will share the salaries of these young people. (More details on my Facebook page and my website.)