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Council newcomer LaLance wants ‘smart growth plan’

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Rick LaLance

Rick LaLance won a first term to the City Council in convincing fashion, picking up 24.6 percent of the vote and capturing more ballots than anyone else in the eight-person field.

Yet, he doesn’t believe that gives him the right to take the council by storm. Instead, he believes his stump speech on being “reasonable” and listening to all sides before making a decision resonated with voters. He also campaigned on the basis that he wouldn’t try to “impose” a batch of new rules on people.

Helping set a comprehensive plan over the next two years that will guide Murfreesboro’s growth over the next few decades will be foremost on his priority list, said LaLance, a vice president with Pinnacle Financial Partners.

That means bringing residents, MTSU and the Chamber of Commerce into the process to form a “smart growth plan,” he said.

Decisions made by city leaders over the years led to growth and a “vibrant community” that enabled the city to pull through a difficult economic period in 2009 and 2010, LaLance added.

“I’m all about trying to improve us as we move forward,” he said.

While LaLance won 4,962 votes in a turnout of 7,927 – 11.3 percent of the city’s registered voters – incumbents Doug Young and Madelyn Scales netted 4,420, 21.9 percent, and 3,893, 19.3 percent, respectively.

Young, who will be entering his fourth four-year term, said he looks forward to working with Scales and LaLance on the council.

“I think the outlook for the city of Murfreesboro is very good,” said Young, owner of City Tile. “We’re developing young leaders with all the qualities we need to move the city forward.”

Young thanked his family members, friends and supporters who stood outside on an unseasonably cool spring day last Tuesday to back his campaign.

Harris, whose mother, former City Council member Mary Scales, died last year, said she didn’t campaign as much as in 2010. But she believes the council needs to do more to energize the electorate in the coming years, especially since Murfreesboro is considered one of the most livable cities in the state and Southeast.

In dealing with her mother’s death, for instance, Harris said she sees “a disconnect” between the community and its senior citizens and veterans. She isn’t certain what the answer is, but she hopes to work on one in the next four years.
Harris, who is retired from State Farm, said she plans to be “transparent” throughout the next term while listening, speaking up and following through.

“I want to be remembered as someone who cared and represented the people,” she said.

Her ultimate goal, she said, is to serve God and her fellow man. But after this term, she said she’ll be 66 years old and does not plan to run again. “Two terms will be it,” she said.

Though City Council races are nonpartisan affairs, Harris added, “I wish we didn’t have (political) parties because they really divide people instead of bringing people together. On judgment day, God is not going be worried about what party we’re in. He’s going to ask what we have done for other people.”

• Murfreesboro City School Board election
Nancy Rainier: 4,109 votes, 23.6 percent
Collier Smith: 3,859 votes, 22.18 percent
Phil King: 2,595 votes, 14.9 percent

• Referendum to move the city election to coincide with the county general election in 2016
6,512, 85.75 percent, yes
1,082, 14.25 percent, no

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city council, election, rick lalance
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