|Williams wins council runoff Hamiter files for recount|
|Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor|
June 17, 2005 - With only five votes separating the candidates in Saturday’s city council runoff election, Yolanda Willams, a full-time college student, has apparently won the Place 7 city council seat, defeating investor-developer Dan Hamiter.
Vote totals show Williams received 238 votes while Hamiter received 233 votes. With the close margin, Hamiter said Monday morning he had asked for a recount of the votes.
“Anything that close, and we are all human, but I still say that whoever gets the most votes, the public has spoken,” he said. “That is the way it should be.”
City Secretary Gale Roberts said Hamiter posted a $60 bond to cover costs of the recount early Monday and that count would be conducted as soon as possible.
Not only was the runoff election result close, only a hand full of votes separated the three candidates seeking the council seat in the May 7 city election.
In that election, Dan Hamiter received 287 votes and Yolanda trailed by only 14 votes with 273 to advance into a runoff election.
Bobby Bankston finished a close third in the election with 253 votes to send Williams and Hamiter into the runoff.
Mrs. Williams said the next step for her, after being sworn in as a city council member, would be to spend time with city staff and other council members and learn more about what she will need to know as a member of the council.
Williams said that, as a council member, she would be a voice for the entire community, not just the black community.
“I want it united,” she said. “Because I did not run just for the black community, but for the whole community of Sulphur Springs – I want to serve everybody.”
Williams said she plans to work toward the same goals she identified when she announced as a candidate for the council seat.
She said she has seen a lot of improvement in Sulphur Springs in the past several years, but said there is more that needs to be done.
“The economic issues, the improvements, because I want the city of Sulphur Springs to look good to attract more business,” she said. “But, I think we also need to look in the neighborhoods, the housing and streets. If the streets are not appropriate for our visitors to drive on, then our city will not make a difference.”
The recent efforts by the city to make improvements to Pacific Park were welcome steps, the candidate said, but still more works needs to be done.
“My goals continue to include to plan more activities for the youth and elderly,” she said. “I want to work toward the renovation of the downtown area and work to improve drainage problems and to continue with the street improvement program.”
Mrs. Williams also expressed her appreciation to her opponent for a well-run and clean race.
The Place 7 council seat was formerly held by Lydia Bryant, who did not seek reelection because of business growth.