Meet the candidates: District 1 race, Rusk

by Jo Anne Embleton

RUSK – Two local residents are vying for a vacancy in the District 1 seat, created earlier this year by the announcement of Councilman Ben Middlebrooks’ bid for mayor.

Both Ben Mims and Kendall Pharis operate businesses locally, and are familiar with the city, having been raised here, and seek a seat on the council out of a desire to help their city.

A winner of the race will be declared May 1, on Election Day.

Ben Mims

I announce my candidacy for Rusk City Council Place 1. I was born on September 8, 1978, at Rusk Memorial Hospital in Rusk. I have been a businessman my entire adult life and began early by starting my first corporation when I was 21 years old. 

I currently own and operate Ben Mims IT Solutions on the Square here in Rusk, where we offer computer repair services, voiceover IP telephone service and website design.   

If elected to the Rusk City Council, I intend on working with the other council members by lending my business experience in making wise decisions to help our citizens and to grow our local economy.

My daughter, Liliana, is nine years old and in the fourth grade at Rusk Intermediate School. I am active in the Rotary Club of Rusk and I am a lifelong member of Rusk First United Methodist Church.

Kendall Pharis

I’m Kendall Pharis, I’m  22 years old, a mother to a rowdy little boy and I have lived in Rusk for most of my life. I graduated from Rusk High School and bought a home right on Main Street. 

My mother and I own businesses downtown and we are proud members of the Chamber of Commerce. Being someone who lives in and owns businesses in District 1, I feel I have a lot to offer.  

I would love to see Rusk brought back to its glory. Back to what I remember as a child. There were Pioneer days, craft shows and the fair on the square. I want our town to be that city where people want to raise their families and plant roots like mine did. 

I want Rusk to be somewhere that people feel like they can prosper. When I think of Rusk I think of home, and I want it to be that way for everyone in our community. I would love to have community days where everyone can come together and help their neighbors build a fence, cut down a tree, mow their lawn or just help one another. 

A home not known for its’ hospital or prisons, but for its community. 

I think we’re off to a great start with our Mayor/incoming Mayor and a diverse city council, and I’d like to offer my perspective as a younger, family-oriented individual.      

Early voting will be held in the municipal court building at Rusk City Hall, April 19-23 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., April 19-23, as well as from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 26-27.

Election Day voting is slated from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 1 at the Rusk ISD administration office, 203 E. 7th St.

Per government election code, uncontested races – such as that for the Rusk mayoral seat and the District 2 seat – may be cancelled and the candidates of each declared as elected. Ben Middlebrooks and Walter session will be sworn into office, respectively as mayor and District 2 Councilman, during the next scheduled meeting following the May 1 election.