Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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April 22, 2013

Candidates face off tonight in debate

JACKSONVILLE — Is everything all right in Jacksonville?

Three candidates representing three generations of Jacksonville resident will attempt to answer that question Monday.

Incumbent Mayor Kenneth Melvin, 72; local restauranteur Rob Gowin, 44; and newcomer William Igbokwe, 23, each will outline their political platforms during this year's mayoral debate, 7 p.m. Monday at the Norman Activity Center.

It's a rarity in Jacksonville to get any opposed race, much less three citizens vying for the same slot – so this is a very unique race.

Jacksonville Daily Progress Editor Amy Brocato Pearson will moderate the exchange between candidates and ensure continuity during the proceedings.

Citizens who wish to submit questions to the candidates can do so over the weekend by emailing editor@jackson-villeprogress.com and listing their complete name, city of residence, cell phone or home number and the comments they wish repeated.

KENNETH MELVIN – Incumbent Mayor Kenneth Melvin, who turns 73 in May, has said he is seeking a second term as a vote of confidence in the way Jacksonville officials currently are managing city affairs.

In addition to the city's many department heads, Melvin has specifically voiced unequivocal support for City Manager Mo Raissi, Police Chief Reece Daniel, Fire Chief Paul White and Public Works Director Will Cole.

Melvin first won the mayoral seat by 31 votes over opponent Jeff Smith in May 2011.

Melvin has voiced extreme pride in the city's lack of need for a tax increase over the past decade or so and its ability to operate effectively and efficiently.

ROB GOWIN – Local restauranteur Rob Gowin, 44, owner of Sadler's Kitch-en, is making his first run at the office of mayor.

But he said he's ready to tackle some of the major issues facing the city.

Gowin and William Igbokwe both have indicated they intend to make full use of social media and digital information in their respective campaigns.

Already with a big fan base situated on his Facebook page, voter turnout is important to Gowin, who noted that a small margin of voters determined the last mayoral election.

He already made some things clear – politically speaking: Gowin is looking to build up the city from his perspective. Not tear it down.

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