At its Jan. 3 organizational meeting, Martinsville City Council elected new council members LC Jones as mayor and Aaron Rawls as vice mayor. Council member Chad Martin did not arrive until near the end of the meeting.
Martinsville Circuit Court Clerk Jeanie Nunn first issued the Oath of Office to Jones and Rawls before calling for nominations for mayor.
Council member Tammy Pearson nominated Jones as mayor, which was seconded by former mayor Kathy Lawson. Nominations were then closed, leaving Jones as an uncontested candidate. Pearson then moved for Jones to be elected, seconded by Lawson.
Jones then took his seat as mayor, met by applause from the audience. He then called for nominations for vice mayor. Pearson nominated Rawls as vice mayor, seconded by Lawson. The vote to elect Rawls was unanimous among attending members, and also met with applause.
Jones called for an establishment of a regular meeting schedule. Lawson suggested maintaining the schedule of the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, beginning at 7 p.m., which was the decided upon schedule. Jones then opened the floor for remarks.
“First, I just want to say I’m excited for a new year, what it has to offer our city,” Pearson said. “I do want to note that change can be difficult. Though, I do believe with honorable intentions, commitment to excellence, fortitude and consistent impact and feedback from our citizens, change can be, no, it will be positive.
“I am excited and proud to be a part of city council and I believe working together, we can really make our city shine. Thank you again for this opportunity to serve you. I’m looking forward to it,” she said.
Lawson, former mayor, said the council has “an opportunity every two years to start with new beginnings, and I’m very pleased this morning to say that LC Jones is our new mayor. I look forward to working with him and the vice mayor and new beginnings.
“It’s always new beginnings. And we have a light to shine in our city and I know that we can do that,” she said. “Just moving forward with positivity and growing in the things that we have established in the past will lead us to nothing but success. So, congratulations to our two newest members of council. I will work with you any way I possibly can. My ear is always open.”
“I’m so excited to be here. I will keep my remarks brief because I see a lot of friendly and familiar faces and you know the extent to which Mr. Jones, and I have already been hustling.” Rawls said. “Take my word for it when I say we’ve basically been working a full-time job since November 8 and then some.
“All I want to say, if you are out there and many of you have already reached out who wish to participate in the future of Martinsville. Thank you, thank you, thank you,” he said. “If you are out there and have not yet reached out and think you’ve got a part to play here, I think you are right, and I hope you will contact me. Facebook, phone, email, stop me in the streets which many people do. Thank you all so much.”
Jones first said he wanted “to thank the people who have carried me through some of the tough times and putting me here today where I am with a purpose. I’d like to thank my mother, my family, my friends, my coworkers, former coworkers. I’d like to thank the many students in the city of Martinsville.
“We stand together here, all of the citizens today, and I’m truly humbled at the opportunity of heading it. I’m honored by the trust that you bestow and by the great respect. I appreciate my fellow council members sitting next to me, those who made the sacrifices and paved the way for us to be here today,” Jones said. “I know it’s not realistic to think that we will always agree on everything, but it is my hope that the one thing that we will agree on is a more prosperous, vibrant, and successful Martinsville city.”
City Manager Leon Towarnicki said that while he did not plan to comment, “I certainly appreciate Mr. Rawls, Mr. Jones, those of you being on council. I think at the end of the day it’s important to remember that we’re all on the same team. There’s a lot of great stuff going on in Martinsville, and I think we can all work together to help move the city forward and I certainly look forward to doing that.”
With that, the meeting was adjourned.