Five Republicans vying for at-large nominations on city council

Apr. 27—ANDERSON — Five candidates are vying for the three at-large city council nominations next Tuesday.

The last time the Republican Party won all three at-large seats on the Anderson City Council was in 1979 and the three winners that year all were defeated in the 1983 election cycle.

Two former city council candidates and three first-time candidates are seeking the party nominations.

Pete Bitar and Mark Turner lost bids in 2015 and there were no at-large candidates on the ballot in 2019.

They're joined by first-time candidates Tiffany Harless, Rachel Landers and Larry Savage Jr. Savage lost a bid in the 2019 primary for the party's nomination for Alexandria mayor.

Republicans running for the council see the role of the council as being more activist and opposed to any tax increases.

Landers said there needs to be more education of young people about the dangers of drug use.

"The education should be focused on prevention," she said. "Encourage young kids not to use alcohol or drugs and explain the dangers."

Landers said adjustments should be made in city spending to use the available funds more wisely.

"We need to improve the infrastructure, that has to be done," she said. "We can find other funding sources."

Landers would also like the city to encourage more businesses to locate to the north and west sides of Anderson.

Harless said if elected she would like to see more partnerships between Anderson and other communities to promote growth in each.

She said her daughter died of a drug overdose in 2022 and would like the city to tackle the drug issue.

"One thing overlaps another," Harless said.

She said homeless people will never go away and said society is lax in dealing with the problem.

"Law enforcement is letting everyone down," Harless said. "We need to adopt ordinances to protect the river and property owners."

She said the city should open a shelter for women and children, adding the former Northside Middle School could be a location.

"I'm tired of the corruption and dual roles in government," Harless said.

Bitar said government should look for new funding sources and the city should seek federal funding to rebuild the infrastructure.

"We can leverage the operating balance to issue bonds and apply for state grants," he said.

"The issue is not your party, it's doing the job," he said. "We don't have a lack of dollars; we have a lack of hope."

Bitar said Anderson could use shipping containers to house the homeless and a company could be started to sell them to other communities and the federal government following disasters.

He also said an audit should be done to determine the production level of every city employee.

"We need to look at hiring practices," Bitar said. "There needs to be a stop to nepotism, hiring friends and getting jobs through political connections."

Savage said if elected to the council he plans to serve with integrity and do what is right for the people of Anderson.

"To help the mayor lower taxes and to make our city safe to combat our drug problem and homelessness," he said.

Savage said he wants to promote Anderson and work to bring high paying jobs back to the city.

"My goal is to make our city great again," he said.

Mark Turner could not be reached for comment by The Herald Bulletin.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.