By Brandon Martin
With Election Day less than a month away, a former music instructor is making his pitch to serve on Martinsville City Council.
Nelson Edwards, 68, says he is looking to bring an alternate perspective to the city’s governing body.
As a retired music educator with Henry County Public Schools, Edwards thinks his background is needed to change the rhythm in council chambers.
“I have worked with the youth my entire professional career as a music teacher and band director in public schools, and I would be entering this job with an optimistic and positive belief in our future,” Edwards said.
Part of that optimism starts with having a bright vision for the city, he said.
“My vision is of a small city that has all the perks of a big city — a quality of life that attracts people to come here to raise a family or retire,” Edwards said, and added the city should have the infrastructure to attract small and large businesses and be a place “where an entrepreneur would want to start his or her business.”
To accomplish that vision, Edwards said the city needs to be “user friendly” and supportive of business growth, in part by “keeping taxes low and services strong. The city schools need to be one of the best in the state with a thriving uptown and lots of activities.”
Edwards said he views the city reverting to a town as inevitable.
“With less and less funds to transfer from the city Enterprise Accounts to the General Fund, we are at the point we need to start down the reversion path,” Edwards said. “Virginia laws have not kept up with the times, and I feel that once the three-judge panel comes down with their conclusions, that some changes may be needed going forward.”
Edwards said that he believes the duplication of services in schools and jails also needs to be studied.
Overall, Edwards said he believes the city faces “a problem with open government. The council needs to be more transparent. The next city manager needs to come from a nationwide search of applicants and hasty long-term investments in AMP-Ohio fixed assets have cost and will cost electric customers millions of extra dollars in high-priced electric cost.”
It’s reasons like these that Edwards said make the role of council members important.
“It’s the local government that affects its people and is closest to its people,” he said, adding that he decided to seek office because “I felt like it was my time to give back to the City of Martinsville. This community has been so good to me and my family.”
Edwards is the brother of former Martinsville High School football coach, Taylor Edwards. He has two sons, Cole and Daniel, and a grandson, Easton. Nelson Edwards has a Bachelors of Science in Music Education from Radford University with a major in percussion. He said his favorite hobbies are golfing and performing jazz, rock, soul and funk.
In addition to Edwards, Tammy Pearson also is seeking a seat on council against a trio of incumbents that include Kathy Lawson, Chad Martin and Jim Woods.