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James Peterson has been a member of the Pierson Town Council for more years than he can remember, recalling in an interview only that it has been more than 20 years since he was first elected. (Town records show he was first elected in 1981.)

In the town’s sole contested election this year, Peterson is trying to stave off a challenge from Lambert James “Jimmy” Anderson, who retired a couple of years ago after working for the Town of Pierson for 24 years, the last 12 or so as foreman of the public-works crew.

When asked in separate interviews why they’re running for the four-year term in Council Seat 1, the two men gave different reasons.

“I like the political environment and the work that comes with it,” said Peterson, a fern grower and lifelong resident of the town.

“I figure I can do more for the town than what’s being done,” Anderson said. “I figure I have another eight to 10 years of work in me.”

Peterson said he would like to see a pair of water-supply wells that were drilled a couple of years ago be put into service. He also said there are several roads in the outlying parts of town that need work, such as Hagstrom Road, where there is a flooding problem caused by a low spot.

Anderson said the town needs to hire another public-works employee because there’s more work than there was when he was in charge, and that workload will only continue to grow as more people move into the area.

“Sooner or later, as people keep moving around, they’re going to buy up all of the properties around here and build houses on them,” Anderson said. “There’s not much else available, so they’ve got to start coming to this end of the county.”

Peterson doesn’t see the same future.

“There really isn’t much growth up our way,” he said.

Anderson’s main goal, however, is doing what he can to help the town’s public-works employees get things done, which he said would be easier for him than for the Town Council members who have their own businesses to run.

“If it means getting out and doing the work, I’m willing to do that — and it won’t cost the town anything,” he said, while acknowledging that his free labor would have to end if he gets elected. “I just want to help the town. I know more about what’s going on than most people, even some living here all of their lives. I’ve been here 48 years, and I’m not going anywhere.”

Three other seats also were up for new four-year terms this year, but no candidates filed to run in those elections.

Re-elected without drawing opposition were Mayor James Sowell, Seat 2 Council Member Thomas R. Larrivee, and Seat 3 Council Member Robert F. Greenlund.

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Joe is an award-winning journalist who got his start in radio news in a number of markets in Florida and Alabama before making the transition to print in the mid-1990s. A resident of DeLand since June 1991, Joe likes to read newspapers and magazines, which has given him broad knowledge of many subjects. He is The Beacon’s business editor, and also an avid Florida State Seminoles football fan. Go, ’Noles!

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