Riggins to replace McLaughlin as Westover mayor (updated)

Published 10:47 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Staff Writer 

WESTOVER – Larry Riggins will replace Mark McLaughlin as mayor of Westover following a decisive vote on Aug. 23.

Riggins received 161 votes (or 63.1 percent) to 94 (36.9 percent) for McLaughlin, who has been mayor for 12 years.

The election will not be official until provisional ballots are counted in the coming days, but the result of the race for mayor is unlikely to change.

“I’m praising God for the outcome and thanking all the people who supported me—thought enough of me to come out and vote,” Riggins said. “I’m looking forward to starting our town in a new direction of development and teamwork. We’re going to make our community what we think it ought to be.”

Riggins had been a member of the Town Council since 2001 and said the experience and relationship built over that time gives him a “good base to work from.”

“I felt like we needed a change in our top leadership,” Riggins said of his decision to run for mayor. “I believe I have some ideas to help us move forward.”

Riggins said his top priorities will be enhancing public safety and aggressively seeking new businesses—and those priorities will go hand-in-hand as new business would allow for better funded public safety departments.

Riggins said he would also push for resumption of the development of the Pine Mountain Preserve residential site, which stalled in 2008 when the country’s economy entered a recession.

Wayne Jones, meanwhile, was elected to fill Riggins’ former Place 2 seat on the council.

Jones received 177 votes (74.1 percent) to 62 votes for Branon King.

The other new council member will be Susan Lane, who was unopposed for the Place 4 seat.

The rest of the council will remain the same.

James Crisman was unopposed for re-election to the Place 1 seat.

Place 3 incumbent Annette Tyler received 138 votes (57 percent) to 104 votes (43 percent) for Frankie Chappell Osborn.

Place 5 incumbent Jeanne Champion-Fisch received 166 votes (69.5 percent) to 73 votes (30.5 percent) for Paul Grater.

The new mayor and council will take office Nov. 1.

McLaughlin said he was “grateful for the opportunity” to serve as mayor of Westover, his hometown and a place he said he loves.

“We’ve been able to accomplish some remarkable things,” McLaughlin said and added that many people have helped with those accomplishments. “I just can not say enough good things about all the people who want the best for the community at large. There are some amazing people on this planet.”