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The Tuskegee News
Tuskegee, Alabama
July 4, 1996     The Tuskegee News
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July 4, 1996

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The Tuskegee News, July 4, 1996, Page 3 li ..... ; ii with a raffle for lucky ones who voted writ ...... br p~ . air on Tuesday, June 25 as candidates Samuel Wilson, Hardaway Trailer; Conference. t. Fit ~: and citizens awaited results on various Mary Renfroe, Seasha; Alice Swift, Old Gray further commented: 'This orga- Photo by Guy Rhodes Fred Gray passes box to draw winners ion" ;;;;~. Macon County Democratic Club chairman ,--pshaw (From Page A-l) gotten older, a lot of my, decision making has been based on IBiS I learned in the Navy. /--~haw's fiance from high school had gone on to Tuskegee • ~zte and talked him into not re-enlisted and going on to fl• )R~got an early out of about 10 days to begin classes at J G~gee Institute in 1966. ,, tendin g college was a difficult adjustment after four years in ervice,' he recalled. "The academic setting meant more free- :I was on academic probation my first year." and his wife, Mary, married Upshaw's second year he was at and his grades in business management improved to list level. During the summers, Upshaw worked in the mills of East Chicago, Ind. to supplement his GI Bill for edu- was a charter member and vice president of the Institute Veterans Club made up of students. Was in the service during much of the early Civil Rights but had a keen interest in what was going home in the while he was often on a tour of duty. trtin Luther King," he said of the late Civil Rights graduation from Tuskegee Institute, Upshaw went to the city of Tuskegee in the Model Cities Program. He search analyst for information gathering and evaluation tool. He was quickly promoted to Director of and Evaluation for the program, which was funded grant money. became Director of Financial Affairs for the Model which later became the Community Deputy Director for Fiscal Affairs with my primary with finances, but also with other responsibilities," minted out. held the dual role as Deputy Director of Fiscal Affairs for Community Development, which has since to basically a one-man operation under Cal Wilson of government cutbacks in funding. 19 years with various federally-funded programs--18 of years when current Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford in office- transferred to general city government at the Tuskegee Complex. directly in city government, Upshaw held positions of treasurer and city clerk. working with the city, until I got to the Complex," said. "There is was closer to politics and I wasn't com- with it." that time, Upshaw supplemented his income with a service for several years, getting in on the ground computer operations for payrolls and bookkeeping. He been involved as a co-owner of A&E Mobile Home Park about 60 trailers• For about a year, Upshaw was a part- H&J Foods before recently selling his interest. admitted he witnessed problems with government r his hand at politics in an effort to hopefully make He successfully ran for a position on the Macon Executive Committee in 1990, defeating two gas just testing the waters, getting my foot in the door and Og experience,'~ said Upshaw who still considered himself a R~.-~tPolitical animal•" V~took a major sten in 1992 when he decided to challenge the ~a. ent Lee for chairman of the Macon County Commission, ~ag second but not garnering enough votes to make the a ' " " ' }'~ ,"iv~ sn t dmcouraged at all. I really dldn t have any expecta- ~.of w!nning. I l~new I would have to run a c0,uple of times ~se it s always difficult against the incumbent, he comment- __...~robably should have done more advertising, but I didn't have ~one - --- ~, y. It cost me $7,000 out of my own pocket and I only had !la contributions." !his year's race, Upshaw spent only about $3,000. Pout, .$1,500 went for si~nso__ and the qualifying fee was $1,016,, . ~a t have as much money as when I ran four years ago, he ~se who contribute more than $100 to a campaign must be |aly had two our three groups or individuals that gave more O!..$100 and about 10 or 12 contributors total. Prior to the ~, I had only about $300 in contributions, Upshaw noted. iquipDed that his wife Mary, a dietician at the VA Hospital, _ necessarily give her blessings ibr spending about $1,200 !f ray own pocket. ~contended that Upshaw. didn't file his campaign expense ,,,~ by the deadline, a charge Upshaw refutes. -Jlbrt~mat have a committee. I was doing everything myself• On ,0~,~]iaY of the deadline, I was in the i~robate Ofi~ce and had ' ~/b d • ~q Y Started on the report• I had the basic information and left snn6[arae back and finished the report before the day was out and me deadline• I guess Frank got a copy of the preliminary ~I turned in," he said. aw, who is ~resident of the Tuskegee-Macon County ~ry Board, said ~e knew getting into the runoff would be a ~OUght the scenario was to make the runoff. I was encour- and cautiously optimistic when I made the runoff, he said. ~ew Frank is a good politician and would be hard to beat. He a~ Macon County and those roots are strong, since I wasn't a ~of Macon County, though I had been here 30 years." aw was endorsed by the ADC and New South Coalition, as i....................... as by some other smaller groups. He trailed Lee 1,700 votes 67i~ the primary. However, Rufus Carson and Gene Ingrain lned for 1,376 votes. That left a lot of votes up for grabs in ~noff three weeks later. e normal scenario is for the voters to switch to the chal- r~ ., Upshaw said. Jrday ~ s exactly what happed• While many votes for Carson and ~ Were for them, t]iey may have also been anti-Lee votes. )p.m. • Uraed out in the runoff, Upshaw had 2,351 votes for 54•08 nt to 1,996 votes or 45.92 percent for Lee. Upshaw gained Votes while Lee managed to add only 296 votes. e Voters are ready for a change," observed Upshaw. a~abent commissioners Albert Daniels and Mike Berry fared political races throughout the state. Additional excitement and anticipa- tion culminated in jubilation for 13 for- tunate Macon County voters upon receiving a message that they had won prizes in a raffle held on the same day. The Macon County Democratic Club sponsored a raffle, giving away portable television sets and portable compact disc players to lucky eligible citizens. The purpose of the raffle and prior advertising was to remind and encour- age citizens to vote. A winner was declared from each polling location. The winners and the places where they voted are as follows: Mary Harvey Flood, Brownville; Ruth Patillo, Woodland; Regina Swanson Green, Notasulga; Janice Stakely Weary, National Guard Armory; Willie W. Banks, Tuskegee Municipal District Two Shop; Charles Cox, District Two Recreation Center; Pauline M. Albright, Little Texas; Richard Gravelin, Shorter Town Hall; Addlene W. Parker,- Franklin. In commenting on the raffle, one win- ner joyously stated: "I'm 70 years old and I've never won anything in my life." A review of vote totals of those voting in the County Commission Chairman's race, the race in which more citizens voted than any other, reveals that more people voted in the runoff election than in the primary. In elections throughout Alabama, voting numbers were down when compared to the numbers for the June 4th election. "In Macon County, we beat the odds and increased our numbers," stated Attorney Fred D. Gray, chairman of the Macon County Democratic Club and an nization is committed to continuing its efforts in voter registration and voter participation." The political thrums• door-to-door canvassing, on-site regis- trations at local businesses, coordinated involvement of the churches helped make runoff election day voting a suc- cess." The raffle was conducted at the Macon County Courthouse afl, er preliminary election results were announced. Officers of the Macon County Democratic Club then personally con- tacted each winner and gave the good news. A few weeks ago at a meeting of the Macon County Democratic Club, discus- sion was held on the questions of how to get people to return to the poll to vote. The idea of a raffle evolved. well, but Omar Neal ousted incumbent Ernest Magruder and Miles Robinson knocked out incumbent Lloyd Stillwell. That means two new commissioners and a chairman will serve the next four years, unless Berry should be upset by Republican Harry Cox and Upshaw by Haygood. "I have no problem with the mix of the commission," Upshaw said. "They are good people and people I think I can work with." Much of opposition for the incumbents came because they have been perceived as not a cohesive body that stayed in a gridlock and couldn't work together. The county's finances are in shambles and the jail has yet to be started as dictated under a federal con- sent order. County officials will have to appear in federal court Monday on the jail issue. How does Upshaw plan to handle the transition? "I hope to be in budget sessions and all commission m_eetings to get input," he said. "Hopefully, I'll be allowed to have some input and be allowed access to information." As far as the financial problem with inauditable books threat- ening the cutoff federal funding for grants, Upshaw knows that will be a problem. "If necessary, I'll do some of bookkeeping myself. I see losing federal funds as a crisis," he commented. "From my information, the county is broke. However, federal funds are used for specific projects, not to help the general oper- ation of the county. We won't be able to do some special projects such as road paving and bridge work, but we can still operate." As for the jail, Upshaw hopes that a plan will be in order that he can help facilitate by the time the new commission takes office in November. Taxes are a must to generate additional revenue. "I support an occupational tax and hope that it is a reality when the new commission takes office," he said. "I wouldn't rule out a so-called 'sin tax' either. If studies that overall taxes are reduced as a result of taking off the two-cents tax for education last year rather than generating more local shopping because of the lower tax, I might have to consider putting it back on if there is no other way to properly fund the schools." In the area of health care, Upshaw wants to dispel any concern from his part that there won't be a continued effort to support the Macon County Health Department which is on track for a 24- hour emergency facility. He also knows State Rep. Thomas Reed is pushing for a charity hospital. "Rep. Reed says he has some ideas for a charity hospital. If he can show us those ideas, I think it will be great," Upshaw said. He believes that recreational facilities in Macon County can be improved with an emphasis on volunteer work. He knows there are funding cuts with the VA, but doesn't believe there is any threat of the VA closing. "My understanding is that the Community Action Agency is fac- ing a funding crisis as is the county. We need to look at those problems and all of us need to get involved to see which direction we can go to help," Upshaw said. Economic development is a major concern. The latest report from the Alabama Development Office showed no expanded or new industry for Macon County for 1995, one of only a couple of counties to report no gains for the previous year. '%re talk about the city of Tuskegee and the county separately. So goes the city, goes the county as far as economic development is concerned. We need to have cooperation and certainly a body for economic development," Upshaw stressed. "We need to get politicians and laymen out of economic develop- ment and get some experts in there." Upshaw thanked his supporters, especially Darren Harris for his loyalty, and looks for support for all citizens of Macon County to improve the county's operation. "My job is to bring people together, to initiate things, provide valuable information, set the agenda and Certainly follow up. If we can do all those things, then the citizens of Macon County will benefit~" Upshaw stressed. REAL AMERICAN Our value endures. Our strength is legendary. Your dreams come true. 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