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What is a city council?

In our series detailing the duties of elected officials in reference to the upcoming elections, only individual titles have been highlighted so far. But what about larger bodies of local government like a city council? What is a city council, and what exactly do they do?

First and foremost, what branch of the government do they fall under? A council is part of the legislative branch. In broad terms, the legislative branch of government is the one concerned with lawmaking and debating.

A city council, however, varies somewhat.

A city’s charter is what usually steers a council in the direction of what they can and cannot do. In essence, a city council discusses their city’s main goals, infrastructure changes or improvements, land use, finances and community growth.

Chances are if there is an issue with a road in your city or someone wants to put on a special show or event in the local park or downtown area, this all goes through the city council for review and discussion.

A city council is headed by a mayor, and to become a council member, like any government position, one has to be a resident of the state and of the city/county they wish to serve.

Becoming a member of your local city council can be daunting, as larger cities require money for larger campaigns. In smaller cities such as Middlesboro and Pineville, getting out in the community and making your name known and face seen is key to a successful run for a council seat.

The Middlesboro City Council has a full roster of folks on the ballot. They are Kevin Barnett, Alan Farmer, Travis Moody, Philip Ball, Jim Hyde, Josh B. Greene, Angela Jackson, Boone L. Bowling, William Smith, Scotty Branham, Jessie Moberg, Carolyn Pursifull, Glynna Brown, Jason W. Lambdin, Terry E. Poore, Mallory Shoffner and Judy Meredith Grandey.

For the Pineville City Council, Patricia Bingham, Billy Robbins Jr., Linda Patterson Wyatt, Shawn S. Fugate II, Gary Woolum, Ben Madon, Scott Jeffrey, Whitney M. Howard, Alex Jones, Dr. Lisa Gregory and Alicia Slusher have filed.

The city council candidates will not be on the May primary election ballot. Those names will be on the November general election ballot.

Some information for this article was found at https://people.howstuffworks.com/government/local-politics/city-council.htm.