by John Fredricks / Beacon Media
What does Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood and City Council members Tina D'Aversa, Bill Lusk, and Karen Thurman have in common? They are all running for re-election - and supporting each other.
In a significant show of electoral solidarity, the four Milton officials are holding a joint kick-off campaign rally on Tuesday night at the Olde Blind Dog Restaurant in Milton. The event is open to the general public. Lockwood, running for a second mayoral term in November, says the joint appearance does not represent a campaign slate. "We are working together to move Milton forward in a positive direction, " Lockwood said. "We may not always agree on every issue, and we may not vote the same way, but we have healthy debate and we respect each other's point of view. I am supporting our entire city council so that we can continue to work together as a team for the benefit of our city."
Lockwood has also gained the endorsement of Milton councilman Burt Hewitt, who he helped elect last year, and sometime-foe Julie Zahner-Bailey for his re-election bid, giving himthe back of at least five of the six members of Milton City Council. The sixth member, Alan Tart, did not return calls. "I support Joe Lockwood for mayor," Zahner-Bailey said.
Lockwood said the city's early reputation for government dysfunction is a thing of the past.
The Vision Thing
Thurman maintained the joint appearance symbolizes a common vision for Milton. "All of us want to maintain the rural charm and character of the city while making sure Milton continues to be financially viable as a municipality," Thurman said "We are working together as a team and Mayor Lockwood is leading us. He deserves our support."
Lusk struck a similar chord. "Whether it be sports, business or government, building a solid team takes time," Lusk said. "It has taken us about three years to get to this point, we have had our bumps in the road along the way, and now we can keep moving Milton forward in a positive way."
D'Aversa, often referred to as the "Queen of Milton" by supports, said,"Milton's most important asset is its citizens , and it's important for all of our elected officials to stand united in working for what is best for our city."
The New Milton
Although no challengers to the four incumbents have come forward to date, the filing deadline for candidates is not until early August. The fact that Lockwood has guided Milton through its early tubulence and a plethora of bad press to gain the support of nearly all of it's once warring council member's is a yeoman's feat, and not to be dismissed. One time Lockwood antagonist, House Majority leader Jan Jones (R-Milton) has even voiced support for him. Lockwood may very well run un-opposed this go-around. Should he get an opponent, he would go into the race as an over-whelming favorite for re-election, especially with Zahner-Bailey's backing. It's tough to argue with Lockwood's mayoral success in 2009, and his bevy of supporters will make mounting a serious challenge to his candidacy a dubious undertaking at best.