Two vote difference in city council race

Story by James Turner, Staff writer 

The packed race for Murray City Council was closer than ever with five newly elected and seven returning council members.

During the primary, there were an unprecedented 34 candidates running for Murray City Council. When voters turned out on Nov. 6, 23 candidates were left on the ballot, and voters were tasked with selecting 12 of them.

The 12th position was decided by a mere two votes. Terry Strieter won with 1,495 votes over Donnie Winchester’s 1,493.

Among the winners, newly and re-elected city council members voiced their continued opposition to the payroll tax.

Tuesday was Election Day nationwide, and Calloway County saw its own political shifts throughout that evening.

Monty McCuiston is one of the newly-elected Murray City Council members. He has stated a
primary issue for Murray State students is the payroll tax.

“I was not in favor of the payroll tax when it passed, and I am still not a fan of it,” McCuiston said.

He said at this point, he does not believe that it can be repealed, but that it can be revamped to help who it hurts the most. One of his first goals, if elected, was to work toward a committee to hear the needs and requests of students and try to find solutions to issues. He said the committee will consist of at least six council members, the SGA president and the Staff Regent to hear these needs.

“Our community revolves around MSU,” McCuiston said. “If the city, the county, Murray State and the Chamber of Commerce could work closely with each other, and keep our common goal at heart, the betterment of our community, we can accomplish anything.”

Linda Cherry was re-elected to the City Council and was one of the six to vote against the payroll tax. Cherry said she would love to see it put on the ballot in the form of a referendum so that the people who live and work in the city can decide its fate.

“It is a crippling thing to our citizens,” Cherry said. “If there is any way we can get it on the ballot, I would definitely be in favor of that.”

Danny O. Hudspeth, who has served on the city council for 28 years, was also re-elected. He echoed similar sentiments to McCuiston concerning the payroll tax.

“I knew this tax or some other had to happen at some point in our city’s future,” Hudspeth said. “I do not think it was the right time. I thought it was too much, and that the needs were overstated. I would like to see it reduced or make the first $10K to $20K exempt.”

The five newly-elected council members are: Rose Ross Elder, Monty McCuiston, Alice J. Rouse, Patricia W. Seiber and Terry Strieter.

The seven re-elected council members are: Jeremy Bell, Wesley Bolin, Linda Cherry, Danny O. Hudspeth, Dan M. Miller, John Mark Roberts and Burton Young.

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