NOLANVILLE — Early voting starts Thursday in the Dec. 18 runoff election between Duane G. Hampton and Robert Meeks to determine who will take over the unexpired Seat 4 council term.
Hampton, who owns his own business and serves as police department chaplain, has held the office since November 2011 when he was appointed to take over after Miguel A. Aviles resigned in October 2011.
Meeks, an Army officer, earned the most votes in the Nov. 6 election but failed to win a majority, so the runoff was called in accordance with city charter.
Hampton sees the runoff as a new opportunity to campaign and let people know who he is and what he stands for. He said he was surprised by the outcome Nov. 6 because of Meeks’ Oct. 10 arrest on an assault charge.
“I don’t know if the public was not aware of the incident or they just didn’t care, but it is disheartening to me to see someone be elected to a position where they are making decisions about how to run a city but have problems in making personal decisions,” Hampton said. “Nolanville has had enough problems with people in leadership positions making bad personal choices.”
Meeks declined to comment on the details of his arrest but said his legal situation will not stop him from successfully serving on the council. “I feel the end results of my current case will not hinder nor affect my performance as a city council member.”
Hampton’s election campaign has focused on improvements to streets and parks in Nolanville, while Meeks has cited concerns about the 11 percent property tax increase adopted by the council in September.
“The major concern that I had with the drastic increase was its effect on the fixed income,” Meeks said. “Many citizens addressed some serious concerns about the increase in property tax during the Sept. 6 council meeting. But I felt along with a few other citizens that their concerns fell on deaf ears.”
Hampton said he prays to God daily for wisdom to make the right decisions, in his work, in his personal life, and on the council.