Wilson announces bid for mayor seat

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blaine Wilson has announced his candidacy for mayor of Andalusia in the August 28 municipal election.

The current owner and general manager of WAAO radio and TV, Wilson is a 1993 graduate of Andalusia High School and a 2002 graduate of the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Academy in Selma. He has been involved in small business in Andalusia since 1993, managing and constructing rental homes and storage buildings. He worked as a sheriff’s deputy from 2001-2003, and full-time K-9 and patrol officer for Andalusia until 2008. He was a part-time, reserve patrol officer for Andalusia until July 2012.

Wilson said he has spent most of his life attending civic, sporting and patriotic celebrations as a citizen or employee of Andalusia. Reporting on those events, promoting the city, and fundraising for those in need is a “privilege and pleasure,” he said.

“For several months now, the audited financial reports regarding current spending, debt, and leadership of our town have been called to my attention making it hard to ignore any longer,” he said. “I believe everyone should have a choice for mayor. Every candidate should have opposition. There are many concerned citizens, business owners, and employees struggling to survive these tough times. Money is tight. Expenses are high. Utility rates are unaffordable. We must stop the spending.”

Wilson said he wants to be Andalusia’s “hometown leader, public relations manager, and voice so we may be able to offer young people a first-class education system and a place to return after college to raise a family and start a career.”

He said he also wants to offer senior adults affordable utilities and low taxes, top-notch police/ fire protection, part-time employment, quality healthcare, recreational opportunities, and clean, litter-free streets.

“Most importantly, I would like to bring real economic growth,” Wilson said. “Real Jobs. Not city hall generated press-releases of jobs which never come.”

Wilson said the most important issues facing the city are spending, utility rates, a shortage of jobs, a lack of recreation, and its $30-plus million long-term debt.

“We now have a never ending maintenance project, ‘Springdale,’ which this current administration spent over $900K dollars on without public notice and without proper approval from the council,” Wilson said. “To add insult to injury, the repairs never stop and the improvements continue. With wages low, jobs scarce, unemployment at all-time highs, unaffordable healthcare, and uncertainty in Washington, it doesn’t take an outstanding graduate to realize that a town of 9,500 residents has no business being $30-plus million dollars in debt. Interest payments alone in 2010 were $15,346.71 per week. The extravagant spending must cease.”

City leaders have touted the grade given Andalusia, an A, as an investment rating as a sign of the city’s sound financial footing. Wilson blasted that rating.

“We have an A financial rating from Standards and Poors, we are told,” he said, adding that Enron also once enjoyed a solid rating, but later was bankrupt.

“ ‘Pretty’ is a word that is often used to describe Andalusia,” he said. “Understand, ‘pretty’ must be paid for. We must stop the spending!”

The city should operate with conservative values, he said.

“We must listen to the people and react to their wishes and not govern as if there is only one path to the future,” he said.

Wilson and his wife, the former Andrea Beam, have a son, Brunson, who will soon begin first grade at AES.