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The City of Athens has a contested race for the Place 3 city council seat. The Athens Review submitted five questions to each candidate.

Ed McCain

Q. What do you think is the most important issue facing Athens City Government?

A. Protecting our tax dollars has always been my number one priority. Police, fire, streets, water, and sewer all are dependent on the council being responsible with the taxpayers’ money. We’ve protected your money since I’ve been on the council and lowered the tax rate two consecutive years.

We also must resist the leftist agenda of those who wish to defund police. APD has to know the city council stands behind them when it comes to law and order.

Q: What specifically does your experience bring to the city council?

A: I’ve owned businesses so I understand the importance of balancing budgets and living within my means. I also don’t mind taking controversial positions which are right, but not always popular. Having the conviction to fight for what you believe in is important, and I share the conservative values that Athenians want in their government representatives.

Q. The city is currently working on a master plan for its future. What are the most critical needs?

A: We must protect our water! We’re sitting on years of priceless, fresh water. Lake Athens is so important to our future the state legislature set up AMWA to protect it for the citizens of Athens. Our water will be what drives Athens forward.

Q: In your opinion, where does Athens rate in quality of life indicators such as living environment, education, job availability and recreation?

A: Ask any realtor in the area and they’ll tell you how hot the market is right now. We have a beautiful city, great people, and the potential to grow responsibly. To realize that potential, we must develop our loop by working with and encouraging new/existing businesses to build on the loop. We also need to work with developers to build new, high-quality housing. I believe our current city leadership, along with recent new leadership at Athens ISD are where we need to be to excel as a city.

Q: What do you like most about Athens?

A: I love the people. This community immediately embraced my family. Because of that we got more involved. My wife successfully built her ASK DR. FRAN business thanks to the good people of Athens. I worked with Congressman Lance Gooden on his successful campaign to bring our U.S. House seat back to East Texas. I joined the city council. I’m proud to support conservative values in our community and am inspired by my neighbors who are all very active citizens. Athens is a special place and I’m honored to call it my home.

Sytonia Freeman

Q: What do you think is the most important issue facing the City of Athens.

A: I think the most important issues currently facing Athens City government is the fact that the public has little to no information about the short term and long term goals of Athens City Government. With social media there is absolutely no reason why the public should be in the dark. My priority on day one will be to make sure that everyone (North, South, East and West) knows the direction that City is going and get the opinion of the citizens.

Q: What specifically would your experience bring to the city council.

A: I believe my years of service on my job at Athens ISD for almost 20 years and my marriage for over 30 years speaks for itself. I know how to solve conflicts and work things out. I am dependable and loyal to a task that is set before me. I want to be the “Eyes,” “Ears” and “Voice” for all of the citizens of Athens. I help people by listening, truly hearing and making decisions based upon truthful information, not emotionally charged decisions, is what I will bring to the Athens City Council.

Q. The city is currently working on a master plan for its future. What are the most critical needs?

A: I congratulate Mayor Montgomery and the City Staff for their current efforts on the master plan. The most critical needs are being outlined by the consultant the City has retained. Creating an environment that highlights our wonderful downtown (supporting local businesses around the square) along with all of our rural beauty (promoting our Fish Hatchery and Arboretum) is something I personally believe are important. I dedicate whatever time and effort is necessary to participate in the process of gathering information for the consultant to help create a wonderful master plan.

Q: In your opinion, where does Athens rate in quality of life indicators such as living environment, education, job availability and recreation?

A: In my opinion, Athens is a wonderful place to live, with great people. However, like anywhere else, we can always make it a better place to live. My promise as a City Council member would be to work tirelessly to help everyone in the community experience all of these quality of life indicators to enjoy a better life.

Q: What do you like most about Athens?

A: The people. I love my husband of over 30 years and the life that we have together, our children and grandchildren, our church family, our friends, and my coworkers. I graduated here and my children graduated here, I am a proud citizen of Athens. That’s why I want to be an Athens City Council member, I want to give back to Athens for all that this incredible community has provided to my family. Give me the opportunity to serve you by voting “Sytonia” Freeman Place 3.

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