‘A lot of relief’

Published 11:19 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ousted council members have parting words

More than 45 percent of Suffolk’s active registered voters came to the polls for Tuesday’s congressional and local elections.

The city currently has 53,205 active registered voters, according to figures on the State Board of Elections’ website. A total of 24,169 cast votes in the senatorial race at the top of the ballot, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Further down the ballot, voters ousted three incumbents from City Council seats in the Cypress, Holy Neck and Suffolk boroughs.

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Of the three, only Councilman Charles Parr won a single precinct, that being the Hollywood precinct.

The three seemed resigned to their fate in Wednesday night’s regular meeting. However, Parr, who was defeated by Don Goldberg, couldn’t resist a few parting shots.

“When you get up here, you’re going to find out it ain’t like you thought it was,” Parr said. “I’m going to support Mr. Goldberg, Mr. (Tim) Johnson and Mr. (Leroy) Bennett, but I want them to know there is no I in team, and you have to be a team to move the city forward.”

Parr also said he believed the three “would do the right thing” and said he’s looking forward to seeing the city progress.

Parr also added that a woman he saw at the polls on Tuesday had a misconception about his funeral home business — that he doesn’t do his own embalming when he does, in fact — and believed it came from the campaign.

“It’s a shame the lengths folks have to go to get a vote,” Parr said.

Councilman Jeffrey Gardy, defeated by Johnson, seemed to enjoy the idea of staying home on Wednesday nights.

“I’m getting a little bit long in the tooth,” he said. “I feel a little remorse, but I also feel a lot of relief.”

He added it had been a pleasure serving for eight years and said he had never missed a meeting.

Vice Mayor Charles Brown, defeated by Bennett, also said he would enjoy spending more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.

“I want to congratulate the winners,” he said. “I wish you well. After 20 years, I think it’s time to pass the torch.”

Councilman Mike Duman, who won in an uncontested race, noted there is 36 years’ worth of experience getting ready to leave the council.

“All three of these individuals, I couldn’t be prouder to have worked with you in my short time here,” he said. “I hope that we continue with all of the positive we have been able to accomplish and we don’t regress.”

Mayor Linda T. Johnson said she will continue to work hard on the council, no matter who is on it.

“I’m proud to sit here,” she said. “It will not make a bit of difference to me. We will work hard together for the citizens of this city.”