Construction worker Tommie Rawlings, security guard Yelverton seek North spot|[2/16/05]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Tommie Rawlings says a calling has led him to seek the North Ward alderman’s seat in upcoming city elections.

Rawlings, 41, a construction worker, became the sixth candidate in that race after filing Tuesday to appear on the June 7 ballot as an independent. He has previously been outspoken on issues including the Jackson Street Community Center and litter.

“I honestly believe that a higher being has selected me to serve our community this way,” Rawlings said.

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Tommie Rawlings is the brother of Democrat candidate for mayor Eric Rawlings, but both have said they do not share political views. Specifically, Tommie Rawlings said he has not seen any problems with racism in the police department’s personnel practices.

“I haven’t seen it, but I do think they have been a little harsh with discipline,” he said.

As an independent candidate, Rawlings’ name will first appear on the general election ballot along with the names of other independents and winners of two primary races in the North Ward.

Vickie Bailey, 36, has also qualified to run as an independent.

So far, casino security guard Carl Yelverton, 58, is the only candidate to file as a Republican in the North Ward. He moved to Vicksburg 10 years ago from Key West, Fla., where he was elected to a civil service board.

His name will appear on a separate ballot for the May 3 primary election and if no other Republican candidates enter the North Ward race, Yelverton will also advance to the general election along with independent candidates and the winner of the Democratic party primary.

Yelverton said previously that he would seek the alderman’s spot because, “It’s just time for some new ideas.”

As of today, that primary contest will feature incumbent Gertrude Young, 49, shop owner Rodney Dillamar, 45, and Warren County District 2 Supervisor Michael Mayfield, 47.

If one of them gets more than half the votes on May 3, he or she will advance to face the independents and the Republican nominee in the general election. If none of the three receives a majority on primary day, a runoff will be held.

With less than three weeks until the filing deadline, only incumbent Sid Beauman, a Republican, has filed to run in the South Ward. Aldermen are paid $58,000.

Although several people have said they are considering a run for the mayor’s post, only two have filed. Eric Rawlings, 42, and John Shorter, 38, have both qualified to run as Democrats, and their names will appear on the May 3 primary ballot.

Incumbent Mayor Laurence Leyens, 40, and former Mayor Joe Loviza, 65, have said they will run again as independents while Warren County District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon, 44, has said he will run for the Democratic nomination.

The salary for the office of mayor is $73,500.

Candidates have until March 4 to qualify, and city residents have until April 2 to register to vote in the primary election. Terms for the city’s three elected posts begin July 4.