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Dillamar officially in city’s North Ward race

[02/08/01] Vicksburg business owner Rodney E. Dillamar has officially joined the race to unseat North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young. It is his second attempt.

Dillamar, 41, the owner and operator of the South Street Shopette, filed papers Tuesday in City Hall to seek the $45,491-a-year post. He will face Young, 45, in the Democratic primary election May 1.

Dillamar said he thinks people in the North Ward are ready for change and he hopes they will come out and vote to express what they want.

“It’s hard to argue with what a leader does if you don’t put in your vote,” he said.

Dillamar ran for the alderman’s post in 1997 but lost to Young 2,771-470 in the primary. Dillamar said he thinks he is better prepared to run this time around.

“Four years ago when I ran, some members of the community expressed that they didn’t know who I was,” said Dillamar. “This time it will be different. I plan on knocking on a lot of doors, meeting a lot of people and expressing my ideas to whomever will listen. In other words, I plan to be a lot more visible.”

Young filed papers last month and is seeking her third term.

“Some city leaders use the community goals and ideas as their goals,” said Dillamar. “If it’s a positive result, then they want the credit. If it’s negative, they blame the community.”

Dillamar said he is fighting for youth recreation, senior citizens, business and economic development, tourism, crime safety and pay raises for lower paid city employees. He also said the community can be self-sufficient and not dependent on the city.

“We need to separate community responsibility from city responsibility,” said Dillamar.

Others who have said they will seek the seat are Sylvester Walker, a wallpaper contractor, and retired educator Josephine Pratt, but neither has filed.

So far in the mayor’s race, fitness instructor Eric Rawlings has been the only candidate to file papers. Rawlings, 38, will seek the Democratic nomination in the mayor’s race during the May 1 primary election.

Others who are expected to be candidates are three-term incumbent Robert Walker, former mayor Joseph Loviza, businessman Laurence Leyens and District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon.

The mayor is paid $56,531 annually.

In the South Ward alderman’s race, incumbent Sam Habeeb has said he will not seek a second term. Potential candidates for the post include, Kings Community Center head Vickie Bailey, who sought the post four years ago, and restaurant manager Sam Smith and hairstylist Pam Johnson. None of them has filed with the City Clerk’s Office.

Travis Wayne Vance, who also ran against Habeeb in 1997, has said he is also considering another run.

Candidates have until March 2 to qualify for ballots. Party primary elections will be May 1, and the general election will be June 5.