MOBILE, Ala (WKRG) — The announcement Tuesday by Bess Rich that she will not seek re-election means the seven-member Mobile City Council will welcome at least three new members this summer.
Rich joins John Williams and Fred Richardson as council members who will not return. Williams announced last week he would not be running in August. Richardson is running for mayor.
Since Mobile adopted its current mayor-council format in 1985, only twice has an election resulted in three or more new members. In 1993, four new council members were elected: Rich, Charlie Waller, Vivian Figures, and Mabin Hicks. In 2001, three new members joined the council: Ben Brooks, Connie Hudson, and Stephen Nodine.
Nothing is official until official qualifying ends in mid-July, but at this point it appears that Gina Gregory, Joel Daves, C.J. Small, and Levon Manzie will seek re-election.
In announcing his retirement from the council last week, Williams said he did not want to become “a career politician.” Williams has been on the council since 2007. Williams 15 years ranks seventh in duration among Mobile City Council members behind Reggie Copeland (28), Richardson (25), Clinton Johnson (24), Rich (19), Thomas Sullivan (16), and Gina Gregory (16).
The history of the Mobile City Council is one of long-serving members. Of the 25 city council members, 20 served at least eight years. The only five not to do so: Brooks (5 years), Charles Tunstall (4 years), Figures (3 years), Jermaine Burrell (3 years), and Nodine (3 years).
Mobile 2021 municipal election takes place August 24th.