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Wallpaper contractor in North Ward race

[02/21/01] Wallpaper contractor Sylvester Walker filed Wednesday as an independent candidate in the race for the North Ward alderman’s post.

Walker, 40, became the fourth person to file in the race for the $45,491-a-year job. Incumbent Gertrude Young, business owner Rodney Dillamar and retired educator Jo Pratt will face off in the May 1 Democratic primary.

If no one else files before the March 2 deadline, the primary winner will advance to face Walker on June 5 general election ballots, the first time his name will appear.

Walker said he was nervous about making his first bid for election, but that he felt good about his chances.

“I am the strongest candidate,” he said.

Young, 45, is seeking a third term in office. Pratt, 67, will be making her first bid for public office. For Dillamar, 41, it is his second bid for the North Ward seat.

If none of the Democrats get a majority of the vote in the primary, a runoff election will be May 15.

Walker said he decided to run for the office because he feels there is a lack of leadership in the North Ward.

“I’m wondering where our tax money is going,” he said.

In the South Ward race, restaurant manager Sam Smith is the only candidate to file for the post. Smith, 37, is seeking the Republican nomination in the May 1 primary. Incumbent Sam Habeeb has said he will not seek a second term in office.

“My focus is on pulling the North Ward and the South Ward together,” Walker said. “I’m going to bring good government back to Vicksburg.”

In the race for the mayor’s office, two candidates have filed to run for the $56,531-a-year post. Fitness instructor Eric Rawlings, 38, will appear as a Democrat on the May 1 primary ballot and former mayor Joe Loviza, 60, is running as an independent in the June 5 general election.

Sylvester Walker is the second cousin of Mayor Robert Walker, who has yet to file to seek re-election. Sylvester Walker said there should be no personal conflicts with both campaigning for jobs at City Hall.

“There shouldn’t be any because he and I have two different agendas,” Sylvester Walker said. “People will look at me for who I am.”