Newly elected Murfreesboro Mayor, Shane McFarland and Vice Mayor Ron Washington. Photos submitted
No fences will have to mended as City Councilman Shane McFarland takes the mayor’s office in May and Ron Washington completes another term on the City Council.
“I respect Ron and that respect will continue,” McFarland said Tuesday night, moments after rolling to victory over Washington in their first mayoral quest.
McFarland noted that he and Washington ran a “positive race” and that even though he captured more than 68 percent of the vote – winning 5,315-2,474 – he was never comfortable and ran like he was 100 votes behind the entire campaign.
Washington said he knew winning election would be “an uphill battle” from the moment he announced his candidacy. Both entered the fray after three-term Mayor Tommy Bragg decided not to seek re-election.
“The good Lord puts you in positions,” said Washington, who won 31.6 percent of the vote. “I was the only one who could run, I thought. It was the thing to do.”
McFarland raised $92,875 and spent $67,321 from mid-January to April 5, while Washington brought in $35,631 and spent $26,372 from December to April 5. Washington also borrowed $12,000 from Mid-South Bank.
Washington saw himself as an “underdog” throughout the process. “But we competed to the best of our abilities in a difficult political scenario,” he said.
Meanwhile, he left the door open for another City Council run in two more years, saying he doesn’t “intend” to seek re-election after previously stating this would be his last election win or lose.
He doesn’t foresee any problems between himself and McFarland, either.
“Shane should be a very good mayor and should be one for as long as he wants to be, as long as he’s an independent thinker,” Washington said.
Washington sees one of his roles as helping McFarland “be the most successful mayor possible,” and that means McFarland can’t allow council members to manipulate city government through him.
The mayor-elect said he plans to put much of his focus on bolstering Murfreesboro City Schools, and he plans to meet soon with Director Linda Gilbert to work on the budget for fiscal 2015.
McFarland, who owns a construction company, also wants to emphasize customer service within city government and create a liaison position to work with small businesses.
Building a safe community and providing job opportunities that enable residents to enjoy a high quality of life will be priorities as well, the new mayor said.
“I don’t want to initiate change after change after change,” McFarland said. Instead, he plans to “do a lot of listening,” and then formulate ideas to help the city of Murfreesboro move forward.