The city of Fairhope’s politics could look much different after the Aug. 23 municipal election, when all five seats on the City Council as well as the mayor’s office are being contested.
Four-term incumbent Mayor Tim Kant received a political challenger just hours before qualifying for municipal elections ended on Tuesday. Fairhope businesswoman Karin Wilson, the owner of independent bookstore Page and Palette, filed qualifying paperwork with the city that afternoon.
Along with the bookstore, Wilson also owns Latte Da Coffee Shop and the Book Cellar Bar and Event Venue. She is also the founder of Fairhope Local, a group that promotes locally owned businesses in town, as well as the Good Life Foundation, which promotes active lifestyles on the Eastern Shore. The foundation has donated more than $360,000 to local schools since 2003.
Wilson could not immediately be reached for an interview.
Kant was first elected mayor in 2000, but or 18 years prior to his election worked as the city’s horticulturist and public works director. Kant is a member of the Fairhope Kiwanis Club, Alabama Municipal Electric Authority Board and the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission. He also serves as the Chairman of the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization.
In addition, Kant is the city’s utilities supervisor and holds a seat on the Fairhope Planning Commission.
In a previous interview with Lagniappe, Kant listed parks and recreation upgrades and improvements to Fairhope City Hall and the Fairhope Civic Center as issues he would like the city to tackle if he wins re-election.
On the council, longtime Place 4 incumbent Mike Ford decided not to seek reelection. Robert Brown and James Phil Nix Jr. will face each other for Ford’s seat, but at least four other City Council incumbents will be facing challengers next month.
In District 1, Meredith Smith is challenging incumbent Jack Burrell while in Place 2, Jay Robinson is challenging incumbent Rich Mueller. Place 3 incumbent Diana Brewer received two challengers in James “Jimmy” Reid Conyers Jr. and Murray Lawrence.
Also, Place 5 incumbent Kevin Boone received a challenge from Gary Gover.
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