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Five candidates set sights on Palmer council

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DIANA BUCKLEY
Ellis County Press
PALMER - Two candidates have thrown their hats in the ring in the mayoral race, and three more will vie for council seats in the City of Palmer. A third mayoral candidate, Thomas E. Baxter Jr., said Monday he had withdrawn from the race.

'I've been on the city council for a year and made a lot of progress,' said Jennifer Thomas, a 27-year-old business owner. 'I am interested in serving the community. I think I have the presence and the time to serve the community as mayor and represent them well to other cities.'

Thomas said she did not wish to denigrate her opponent, incumbent Henry M. Rhoades, but felt she could offer more time to the job. 'I can be more active as mayor,' Thomas said. 'My schedule is very flexible.'

Thomas indicated the most important issues facing Palmer in the next two years would be water, sewer and a drainage system for the town, which recently hired a full-time city administrator.

Rhoades, 50, now serving his second term as Palmer's mayor, said a desire for service prompted him to run again. 'I want to do something for the citizens,' he said. 'To make Palmer a better place to raise a family, to live. I want to improve the quality of life.'

Rhoades essentially agreed with Thomas with regard to the main issues to be faced in the next term. 'At this point our sewer and water systems are top priority,' Rhoades said. 'Third on the list would be our storm drainage system.'

Council incumbent Sam Knoll listed no phone on his application for candidacy. Charles M. Rhodes could not be reached for comment either, although some said they expected him to withdraw from the race.

Don Huskins, 53, who said he was born and raised in Ellis County and has lived in Palmer for the last two years, entered the race for a council seat to effect what he called 'necessary changes' for the town.

'I was not satisfied with the way the council treats its constituents,' he said. 'If you can't beat them, join them.'

Huskins echoed Thomas and Rhoades in his assessment of the city's top issues. 'Water, that's the biggest single issue,' Huskins said. 'Drainage and sewer also. And I know Jennifer has worked for EMS service here, and I will help her on that.'

City council and school board elections across the county will be held on Saturday, May 5 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Candidates in other races will be profiled in future issues of the Ellis County Press.

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