Jerome Fitzgerald and Kelly Wolfe
Jerome Fitzgerald is priding himself as an old professional who runs a clean, positive campaign heading toward an election day showdown with Jonesborough’s current Mayor Kelly Wolfe.
The Nov. 4 election will give town of Jonesborough residents an option of more Wolfe or Fitzgerald, who served as an alderman for the town for 16 years.
Fitzgerald said it doesn’t matter that it’s Wolfe as his opponent because he’s had his eyes on the position of mayor for some time.
“I’d be running no matter who it was,” Fitzgerald said. “But they need a mayor like me.”
He said he’s proud of his record and the fact that, if asked, everyone would agree he’s always kept his alderman campaigns positive, doesn’t like to speak poorly of his opponents and likes to look ahead on how to keep Jonesborough moving in the right direction.
Having recently submitted the necessary qualifying paperwork, Fitzgerald said he’s ready to get his hands dirty and start talking to people about the things he can do, though he admits not having “spoken to a soul yet.”
Taking credit for the positive things that have happened in Jonesborough in recent years is important to both Wolfe and Fitzgerald, who both said they’ve contributed to the town’s upswing from different positions — Wolfe as the mayor and Fitzegerald as an alderman, up until three years ago.
Fitzgerald said he knows how the whole process works, knows Wolfe, but more importantly, knows Wolfe’s playbook, saying he just wants to get started and see what happens.
While Wolfe doesn’t want to run a negative campaign either, he said he believes Fitzgerald must want to do things differently or he wouldn’t be running against him. Of the accomplishments he’s said he’s proud of over the last six years, Wolfe said it’s important to point out the nearly junk bond rating Jonesborough had when he became mayor, as well as its low cash reserves. Now, he said, the town has about $1 million in reserves and an A-plus credit rating.
That being said, he credits the aldermen with whom he’s worked to get things done and says he feels he’s given the town residents reason to think he will continue helping Jonesborough move forward.
“Like the old saying goes,” Wolfe said. “There’s no ‘i’ in team and there’s no ‘i’ in Jonesborough.”
He said one of the biggest things he’s proud of is the significant reduction in the amount of water lost through the water system. Putting it into perspective, he said six out of every 10 drops of water were lost when he started as mayor, but now has that number down to three out of 10 and is continuing to drop.
Wolfe is confident Jonesborough is looking the best it ever has and says he hears that when talking to its citizens. He’s looking forward to hearing what Fitzgerald has planned for Jonesborough, saying he is prepared to do the same.
The mayoral race isn’t the only election for Jonesborough, as it looks to replace two spots on its Board of Mayor and Aldermen with Homer G’Fellers and Chuck Vest’s spots becoming available. Vest will go against David Sell and Nansee Williams, who will vie for the open spots.
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