KINGSPORT - The voters of Kingsport have spoken and have returned Vice Mayor Larry Munsey and Alderman Ken Marsh to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for a third term.
Voters also elected Kingsport native Jantry Shupe to fill the open seat left by Alderman Ken Maness, who chose not to run for re-election. The BMA appointed Maness to serve out the remainder of former Alderman Hoyt Denton's term when he resigned last year to run for Sullivan County mayor.
According to the results, Munsey received the most votes of all the alderman candidates with 2,178; Marsh received 1,932 votes; and Shupe received 1,575 votes. Ray Cain received 1,246 votes; Bill Hillman received 536 votes; and Richard Samples received 352 votes.
Mayor Dennis Phillips, who was unopposed in Tuesday's election, received 2,420 votes and will serve a second term as mayor.
The aldermen will be sworn into office in July.
Munsey said he is happy to have been re-elected and is glad to be a part of keeping the momentum going in the Model City.
"I didn't really hear a great deal about a particular subject (during the campaign), so I assumed people were pretty well pleased with the direction of the city and the way things are going," he said.
Munsey said he was also flattered about being the top vote getter among the alderman candidates, a position usually reserved for newcomers on the BMA.
"I'm very gratified after casting thousands of votes and making hundreds of public comments that people know me well enough and have confidence in me that I led the ticket," Munsey said.
Marsh, who has served on the BMA since 1999, said he was pretty confident the incumbents would fair well in all of the races.
"I have always said I've been willing to serve, and it looks like enough people have said that I should serve and I'm going to be serving," Marsh said. "What I heard from people was they liked the fact I questioned the issues, examined the issues, that I didn't just rubber-stamp them.
"I think what I really got is that people appreciate the fact I'm engaged in government as opposed to rubber-stamping."
Alderman Pat Shull said Tuesday night he intends to nominate Marsh for vice mayor.
Every two years in July, the BMA selects one of its members to serve as vice mayor. For the past six years, Munsey has held this position. The primary duty of the vice mayor is to fill in when the mayor is unable to attend a meeting or function. It could be because of a scheduling conflict or an illness, for example.
Marsh said Shull's proposal was "news to me."
"I never heard that before, but we'll see what that brings," Marsh said. "That's a decision to be made by the board, and we'll cross that bridge in July."
Munsey said he certainly would be willing to serve again as vice mayor if the BMA chooses.
Shupe, who ran for alderman in 2003, said he is excited and humbled to have been elected to the BMA.
"It was a close race and across the board all good candidates, and I commend all of their efforts," Shupe said. "I'm extremely humbled and honored to have the privilege to serve on the BMA."
During the campaign, Shupe said he heard from people of how tired they were of the negative politics.
"We're excited about the potential Kingsport has. I definitely plan to embark on the great future that is coming to fruition for Kingsport, and I see Kingsport poised to be a leader for Northeast Tennessee," he said.