Smithfield’s two council seats draw 7 contenders

SMITHFIELD — The primary race is winding down for the seven candidates running for two open city council seats this election.

One of the runners, Scott Baddley, 49, just wants people to get out and vote. “The number of registered voters that actually vote is atrocious. If they vote for me, great. I am happy with the caliber of candidates,” Baddley said.

Baddley said he would like to keep Smithfield a family-friendly city and ensure the city government continues to run smoothly. He also said he would like to change the perception of Smithfield being a “speed-trap.”

“I am not a politician, but I would like to serve my community and make a difference in local government,” he said.

Baddley said he’s tired of what’s going on in national and state politics and wants to help where he can.

The other candidates for the council seats are:

Janice Mikkelsen, 56, was a councilwoman from 2002 to 2006. She ran two years ago but forgot file a report by the government’s due date and was disqualified. Mikkelsen said she felt she had disappointed many people and wants to right her wrongs this year.

Mikkelsen said, “I felt like a made a difference last time I served on the council and I want to help Smithfield continue to be the wonderful place that it is.”

She said she believes the low in the housing market is a good time to step back and protect open spaces and farmlands. Mikkelsen also said she would like to see the new library be built and help in that effort.

“I will do what I can to help better dialogue between city officers and public,” she said.

John Mulholland is the youngest runner at 32-years-old. He said he would like to limit the size and negative impact of government on peoples lives.

One of Mulholland’s concerns is the concerts in the park. He said he feels that taxpayer’s dollars should not have to fund extra, unnecessarily things.

“Concerts in the park are nice, but not even half of the people that attend live in Smithfield, so we’re paying for their entertainment,” Mulholland said.

“We need to start getting our local government back,” he said. He said he believes we have to start locally, not at a federal level.

Barbara Scholes Kent, 56, said she is running because she ran out of reasons not to. Her parents, to whom she was the primary caregiver, have passed on and she said she now has more time to run for office.

The things Kent would like to accomplish include: good ordinances, informed constituents, and meaningful citizen involvement.

Kent has served on the City Planning Commission for more than 5 years and said she has experience with drafting city ordinances.

“I hope Smithfield continues to be a wonderful place to live. I would like to give back to the home town that has given me so much,” Kent said.

Jeffry Gittins, a 54-year old farmer, was a councilman from 1998 to 2003. He said he would like to redistribute powers, duties and responsibilities to “insure that the proper checks and balances exist in out city government.”

Gittins said he is also concerned about balanced representation because currently Mayor Downs is the only elected official from the west side of the city and he is not running again.

The storm drainage issue is one more thing Gittins said needs to be addressed. Gittins said his experience with the canal board will help him contribute significantly to this cause.

Kris Monson, a current councilwoman with 8 years experience, is running for reelection this year. She has been involved with developing trails and preserving the old library. Monson was out of town and unavailable for comment.

Jeffrey Barnes, 59, has lived in Smithfield for 28 years. Barnes was unavailable for comment after several attempts to contact him.

Primary elections will be held Sept. 15.

Published in cooperation with the Hard News Cafe. Original story is here.