Franklin mayor, council races set

Published 10:15 am Wednesday, March 7, 2012

FRANKLIN—Franklin Mayor Jim Councill and Ward 1 Councilman Barry Cheatham will face opposition during the May 1 election.

The other competitive race will be between broker Linwood Johnson and School Board member Mona Murphy for the Ward 4 seat currently held by Raystine Johnson, who is running for mayor.

Ward 2 City Councilman Benny Burgess is unopposed. Cheatham is being challenged by C. Earl Blythe.

Ward 3 City Councilman Greg McLemore joined Councill and Raystine Johnson in the mayoral race. A maintenance worker for Paul D. Camp Community College, McLemore, 53, in 2008 finished last in a three-way race that Councill won.

Councill, 67, is seeking his ninth two-year term.

The qualifying deadline for City Council candidates was Tuesday.

McLemore said he is running because he’s not satisfied with the way the city is being run and would like to see more done to bring jobs to the city.

“I think Franklin is overdue for change,” he said.

Raystine Johnson owns Wm. Johnson and Sons funeral home. A 1977 graduate of Franklin High School, she has served on the council since 1999.

“I looked at the charter and looked at how the city was functioning, and it didn’t correlate as far as the duties of the mayor,” Johnson said. “I want to get the position of mayor in line with the charter.”

Cheatham, 61, is a certified public accountant with Sherman, Spero and Safarino in Virginia Beach.

Linwood Johnson, 59, is a broker, financial consultant and owner of L.W. Johnson & Associates. He is also a bishop with New Covenant Outreach.

“I’m running to help the city and help the people,” he said. “I want to get Franklin moving on its feet.”

Murphy could not be reached.

Burgess, a certified public accountant and owner of Burgess & Company, is unopposed for a second term.

Former Franklin police officer Ronnie McClenny said in January that he planned to oppose Burgess, but McClenny did not file qualifying papers by Tuesday’s deadline.