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Carter bids mayor's seat farewell

COVINGTON -- Though her term does not expire until year's end, Tuesday marked Covington Mayor Kim Carter's last time leading a City Council meeting.

Carter opted not to seek a second term. Mayor-elect Ronnie Johnston will take office in January.

Fellow council members and a citizen praised Carter for a job well done.

"I want to make sure you know I recognize your ability to have led this council with grace, style, professionalism, business acumen and pragmatism," said Nita Thompson, a member of the Covington Redevelopment Authority. "You can never be all things to all people at all times. That being said, you unquestionably made a concerted effort to fulfill the goals and objectives of your campaign and you remained true to your vision. There was more to be done, and sadly, it won't be accomplished by you. I am most appreciative for your tremendous efforts to make Covington a better place in spite of the opposition you faced.

"Your can-do attitude, cheerful smile, open mind, community involvement and welcoming demeanor to those you encountered demonstrated your desire and commitment to give more than 100 percent to the position," Thompson concluded. Her remarks provoked a standing ovation from those in attendance.

City Manager Steve Horton said Carter has done "very tireless, dedicated work on behalf of the citizens of the city, our employees and everyone that visits here."

"Your impact will be felt for years and we just want you to know you will be missed from an organizational standpoint," he said.

Councilman Mike Whatley congratulated Carter on her accomplishments.

"It's been a real pleasure working with you and I hope to see you again soon somewhere. I know you're not going to be sitting still. Keep up the faith and keep plodding forward. God has got a plan for your life," he said.

"I wish that plan would have been for you to stay," responded Councilwoman Janet Goodman in her remarks. Goodman said Carter has "brought the city of Covington up to another level."

"We know there are lots of things that need to be done. Years ago, we didn't have the money or the access and now we do, but we've also had a person determined to see that poverty was addressed, housing was addressed, and every time we needed the mayor to be some place you were there and I appreciate that, and I love you Kim," Goodman said.

Councilwoman Hawenthia Williams praised Carter for her commitment to having affordable housing in the city, evidenced by the Harristown Park senior living complex currently under construction in downtown Covington and the Walker's Bend Neighborhood Stabilization project.

"You've tapped into something that is much needed in our city and I'm hoping the new mayor will see that also as something that's needed," Williams said.

Councilwoman Ocie Franklin added that, "You stood in your shoes and I applaud you for that. Color had no bearing with you. You were an all-city mayor and I can appreciate that."

Carter called the remarks "humbling."

"I tried my best and I'm glad and proud of my service to the city and I'm going to live here the rest of my life, so if I can ever be of service to you again, please do not hesitate to call on me," she said. "I have a large spirit of volunteerism and I hope to go back to doing some more volunteer work for our community, for the betterment of our community."

Carter also said she wishes Mayor-elect Johnston "all the success and luck in the world," and thanked family and friends for supporting her "through thick and thin."

"I don't know what else to say other than I've committed to being your humble servant and I've always tried to do that and I'll sign off now with that in mind ... I appreciate all of you and I've enjoyed working with you. Good luck to the city of Covington. Keep moving us forward. Keep moving that peanut forward," she said.