Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Democrat Bruce Gilbert to run for mayor

The Morgan County Citizen:

After 16 years as Madison’s mayor and another 15 years as a city council member, Bruce Gilbert said Tuesday he was going to qualify for another mayoral term.

Gilbert’s announcement comes on the heels of a Madison City Council ordinance change, enacted at Monday's meeting, that allows for elected officials with more than 20 years of service under their belts to get re-elected to a city government position without losing pension benefits. However, there must be a two-year lapse in service, and the stipend that comes with that elected position will not be granted to a returning elected official.

Gilbert said that, with the ordinance change, he would serve without a stipend. He also said that an earlier announcement by Madison Mayor Tom DuPree, indicating that he would not seek a second term in office, influenced his decision. “I wasn’t going to run against him. When he decided not to run again, I felt it left a vacuum.”

Gilbert, 63, has been a life-long resident of Madison and a fixture in the local political scene. After a failed run for a Georgia Senate seat several years ago against Johnny Grant (R) Milledgeville, Gilbert has focused on running both Madison Hardware and his family.

But, he said Monday, he’s ready and committed to return to public service. “I enjoyed it. I really did.
“I care about Madison. I think I bring experience to the position when it needs some. All I bring is common sense and experience.”

Gilbert said he intends to qualify for the post on Monday, August 31.

Gilbert said his decision was also influenced by the urgings of Madison citizens to seek the post. “It’s certainly gratifying when so many ask that you run.”

Gilbert first became mayor in 1989 after serving 15 years on the city council. During his 31 years as an elected official, he said the next four years may be some of the most challenging the city and city council have ever faced. A sluggish economy has and will continue to affect city government and the quality of life in Madison, he said.

“The economy and how it affects taxation and more importantly how it affects people will be challenging.”
Gilbert said, if elected, he would meet with the Madison City Manager David Nunn daily for updates on city projects and finances and would place an emphasis on creating employment opportunities in Madison and Morgan County.

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