By ZEINAB NAJM
TAYLOR — Three candidates have officially entered the mayor race in Taylor as of Feb. 8.
Mayor Rick Sollars, City Council Chairman Tim Woolley, and state Rep. Alex Garza (D-12th District) announced their intentions over the last month.
The winner of the Nov. 2 election will serve a four-year term.
On Jan. 20, Sollars said he would be seeking a third term as mayor in a video posted on a Facebook page for his campaign. He was first elected mayor in 2013.
“Together, we hurdled the devastation of the recession a decade ago and moved progressively forward,” Sollars wrote. “We’ve decreased the city millage, stabilized city government, increased property values, improved infrastructure, added businesses and jobs and much more.”
The video highlighted Sollars’ accomplishments in a graphic which mentioned a 200 percent increase in residential development, 245 new businesses and return to curbside recycling and bulk pickup.
Sollars is currently facing a federal bribery and wire fraud lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan which has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Dec. 19, 2019, a 33-count indictment charged Sollars, businessman Shady Awad and Taylor Community Development Manager Jeffrey Baum with conspiracy to commit bribery in a scheme spanning from 2015 to 2019. Sollars pleaded not guilty.
The indictment also charged Sollars and Awad with seven counts of bribery each, and charged Sollars and Baum with 18 counts of wire fraud.
Woolley was the first candidate to announce his decision to run for mayor, on Jan. 3. He has served on the city council for seven years with three as chairman. On Jan. 25, Woolley provided an update that all his petitions for the mayoral run were turned in to the city clerk’s office.
“As a lifelong resident of 51 years, with the exception of the 3 years I spent in the Army, I feel I have a good pulse on our community,” a post on his campaign Facebook page read. “I know I can handle the work and do it well. Taylor’s future is uncertain and I can’t sit back and see what happens. It’s time to step up and lead in a way that restores your faith in our city administration.”
Garza held a press conference outside his home Feb. 8 announcing his campaign saying he wants to bring new energy to leading the city.
“I have dedicated my life to public service and advocating for Taylor residents during my time on the city council and now as your state representative,” Garza said in a press release. “For too long, Taylor residents have been shut out and left behind, and COVID-19 has only shown us the inequalities that can rip apart the very fabric of our community.
“I’m proud of the work my office has done to help Taylor residents and now I am ready to take my experience, my love for Taylor and our residents, and my unwavering drive to improve the lives of our neighbors to the mayor’s office.”
Garza served as a member of the city council from 2013 to 2018, with the role as city council pro-term from 2017 to 2019. Since then, he has represented the 12th District in the Michigan House of Representatives after winning the seat in 2018.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])