Leader Blues

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

TOP STORY >>Williams winnner in mayoral primary

BY JOAN MCCOY
Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Ex-Cabot alderman, citing his managerial skills, beats Pedersen and will face several independents in the fall.

Former Cabot Alderman Eddie Joe Williams won over Bill Pete Pedersen, 847 to 476, for a place on the November ballot as the Republican candidate for mayor.

Williams attributes his strong win to his management experience with the railroad that he stressed during his campaign.
“I think people were looking for a manager,” he said. “They want someone who can take care of a large budget and work with people.”

Although he left management several years ago and went back to work as an engineer, Wil-liams campaigned on his time as regional director of transportation for the Union Pacific Railroad. According to his campaign Website, he was responsible for day-to-day operations of the Eastern part of the railroad, extending from Chicago to Alexandra, La.

He supervised more than 30 managers and 1,000 employees and oversaw the operation of more than 100 trains a day in seven switching yards.

Pedersen used an old political joke to express his feelings on his loss to Williams.
“As bad as I did, I need to carry a gun,” he said.

Pedersen, who served many years on the Lonoke County Quorum Court, said he was surprised that he lost almost 2 to 1.
“I got what I thought was a lot of support from a lot of people,” he said. “I guess those people didn’t vote.

“We live in a society where people feel like they’ve got to be entertained,” he went on to say. “People vote for the man with the best dog and pony show. Honesty and integrity don’t mean anything anymore.”

Asked if he would support Williams in his campaign against the three independent candidates who have announced and are expected to file between July 20 and Aug. 9, Pedersen said he would not.

“It will be a cold day…,” he said.

The announced independent candidates for Cabot mayor are Alderman David Polantz, Alder-man James Glenn and former Lonoke County Justice of the Peace Kenny Ridgeway.

Pedersen cautions voters not to take campaign ads and rhetoric at face value.

“Check it out,” he said. “Not everything politicians put in their ads is true. Sometimes it’s distorted.
“Like my grandpa said, ‘If a man will lie to you, he will steal from you,’” Pedersen said.

Since most Cabot voters are Re-publicans, Williams knows he is in a strong position, but he said he plans to conduct his campaign from now until the November election the same way he did for the primary.

He will continue to stress his management experience and he will continue to attend “meet and greets” in homes of supporters who hope to strengthen his position.

If he wins in November, he says he intends to schedule what he is calling a “traffic summit” so city and county leaders can start talking to state and national leaders about what can be done about traffic congestion in Cabot.

The lone Republican race for Cabot City Council isn’t over yet. Although Virgil Teague apparently won 586 to 585 over Carl Schmidt for the Ward 2, Position 1 seat now held by Patrick Hutton, Schmidt has asked for a recount.
Schmidt said that when he left the Lonoke courthouse Saturday, he was tied with Teague and that the votes had been posted incorrectly.

He said he worked too hard on the campaign to let it go at that, so he is paying more than $300 for the recount to settle the matter.

“I’ll be the first to shake the man’s hand if it turns out he’s won,” Schmidt said.