Rev. James "Tim" Walden wanted to add a third choice to the race for Covington mayor, so he officially filed to be a write-in candidate last week.
Walden, the senior pastor at Calvary Community, said people approached him about running for office, but the official qualifying deadline had already passed so he chose to be a write-in candidate.
"As I looked at the candidates actually running, I know Mr. (Bobby) Sigman, he's been here a long time. I'd never say anything negative about any candidate. The other candidate, Mr. (Ronnie) Johnston, hasn't been here but three years," Walden said. "I feel the mayor needs to be somebody that knows us, knows our city and knows our people. That's one of the main reasons I did what I did."
Walden, 45, said there is too much division on the council.
"There is so much disagreement with the council and the mayor on various items," he said. There's always two sides; nobody can come together in the middle and say lets do what best for the people."
He said he has always tried to be a servant and believes he could fill that role for the city. He previously ran for the District 5 Board of Education seat, because at the time no one else had yet declared. He later pulled out of the race when Sharon Sawyer and Abigail Coggin-Morgan had announced runs.
He also weighed in on the controversial Norfolk Southern railroad purchase. He said in a better economy he would "100 percent" support purchasing and converting the unused rail corridor into a trail but said he couldn't support spending millions of dollars in this economy.
The city has managed to avoid layoffs, and Walden would want to continue to support employees and pay them what their worth.
"As far as our local police department, I think we have one of the greatest departments and overall city employees around," Walden said.
While he noted the mayor has limited power in Covington, he said the mayor needs to be a spokesperson for the city in the effort to attract business. As a lifelong residents of Covington he can remember better times.
"I remember when everything we needed was right there on the square; that was the only place we had to go. We need to get that built back up and build the tax base up," he said. "If someone comes and sees the city mayor and council fussing and fighting they wont want to come here."
Walden founded Calvary Community Church in Conyers, close to the Newton County border, seven years ago.
He has also been a licensed funeral director for 25 years, previously working with both Caldwell and Cowen and J.C. Harwell and Son in Covington.
He has a bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry from United Theological Seminary in Minnesota and an associate's degree in funeral service from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service.
Walden is the certified chaplain of Newton Medical Center and is a member of Golden Fleece Masonic Lodge #6 and the Alcovy Shrine Club, both in Covington.
He said he received the 2002 I Have a Dream Award for community service, because of his work with Newton County Special Olympics and at the hospital and nursing homes.
He and his wife, Angie, have two children, Timothy, Jr., 25, and Jessica Bowles, 23.
Under state law, only certified write-in candidates are eligible to receive notes. Walden had a notice published in The Covington News - the county's legal organ - and then filed that notice with the Newton County Board of Elections. Write-in votes for anyone beside Walden will not be counted.
Ronnie Johnston and Bobby Sigman both qualified for the mayor's race and will appear on November's ballot.