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Ward 3 candidates take their issues to Rotary

ALBANY -- After presenting their cases at Darton College the night before, Ward 3 City Commission candidates Arthur Williams and Christopher Pike took another opportunity to present their platforms at a civic club meeting Tuesday.

"We are not reinventing the wheel, we just need a common sense approach to make things better," said Pike, who addressed the Dougherty Rotary Club first.

Born to a teenage mother, Pike earned a bachelor's degree from Albany State University in criminal justice. His address to Rotarians centered in part around the need for change in the city, if for no other motivation than to give young people a reason to stay in Albany.

"This election is about Albany's future," he said. "Albany is not going to be prosperous if our young talent leaves. We need to reinvest in the future. We need to talk about ways to bring about change for

the future."

Pike wrapped up his 10-minute address by reaffirming confidence in his ability to confront the city's issues.

"There are a lot of things people are upset about, and they are legitimate concerns," he said. "I don't know the answers to everything, but I do know it will take a visionary."

Williams' address followed Pike's, which stated in part the need to re-establish the city's economic footing.

"We need to build from within," he said. "The table is ready to be set here."

Williams, who served 22 years on the commission until November 2005, also took the time to address the criticism he has received in the past for what he has called personal issues associated with taxes still believed to be owed to the IRS.

"I did no wrong," he said. "I came to do no wrong."

After both candidates made their remarks, Rotarian Glenn Tennyson asked both Pike and Williams whether they would support a screening process into the financial circumstances of candidates seeking a position in city government.

Pike demonstrated support for such a measure.

"The taxpayers do have a right to know who they are electing," he said.

Williams said he felt no rules aside from what is already in place were necessary, unless background checks done on the candidate in question warranted further scrutiny.

The Ward 3 seat is currently being held by Morris Gurr, who announced in July he would not seek a second term. He has since endorsed Pike for the position.

The election for the Ward 3 City Commission race is Nov. 3. Early voting, which started on Oct. 12, has so far attracted in 22 residents in addition to 14 mail-out ballots, officials with the elections office say.