“As of this day, I am removing my name as a candidate for the mayor of the city of Sylacauga,” Wright said. “Representing and serving the citizens of Sylacauga has been the highlight of my life, therefore making this decision was very difficult. It has not been made quickly, nor without a great deal of prayer and input from my family.”
Wright, who has been mayor for eight years, said numerous factors contributed to his decision to withdraw.
“A lot of people have said health, but several things have entered into it,” Wright said. “Most of all, I just lost the zeal for running. You have to have a passion for it. I realized I was running for the wrong reasons, and that’s not good. There are a lot of people who have supported me, and I know I’ve let them down, but the decision had to be made, and now is the time to make it so if somebody else decides to run, they can run.”
City Council President Jim Heigl said he supports Wright’s decision, even if he may not agree with it.
“It’s a loss, but he has the interests of the city at heart,” Heigl said. “I hate it, but the mayor has his own reasons, and I support anything he decides to do. He has been inspirational to many and has done so much. He has served as a mentor to me and taught me a lot during my first term on the council. I’m grateful to him for all he did that helped the city and helped me as a councilmember.”
Wright and Councilman Walter Jacobson both announced their intention to run for mayor in January. Jacobson is currently the only other candidate, although he said he believes at least one more will join the race.
Jacobson said the council hopes Wright continues to be involved in the community once his term is over.
“Sam has done a good job in some challenging times,” Jacobson said. “Our hope is that he will stay engaged in the community, and particularly with the marble and recycling efforts that have been passions of his.”
Wright said the city has accomplished several projects during his two terms that he is particularly proud of, including starting the Marble Festival.
“The Marble Festival has been a real success, and if we keep the momentum going with regards to our marble, it will eventually be a good thing,” he said.
He also noted the downtown improvements, new industry, recycling program, paving and drainage projects and the bicycle trail. Wright said the relocation of the downtown train switch will be another big accomplishment.
He said the city has been on a slim budget during his terms, but he sees progress toward a sportsplex in the future.
“Somebody once said, ‘You can be a good mayor if you have money,’” he said. “We’ve had to watch what we spend, but I think the sportsplex idea is going to get a lot of momentum, and well it should. That would help our city in a lot of respects.”
Wright, who worked in insurance before serving as mayor, said he has enjoyed working with the city’s staff, council members and citizens over the last eight years.
“Most of all, I thank God for the opportunity he has given me through the citizens of Sylacauga,” Wright said. “He seems to be leading me in other directions, and I pray his blessings on this city and future administrations.”
In the meantime, Wright said he will finish out his term and is considering a few possibilities for life after his term is up.
“I’ve had one or two offers, and I might do something to bide my time and have something to do, but mainly I’ll just be staying at home,” he said.
“I just wish the best for the city of Sylacauga always, and I will be here finishing out my term and doing whatever I can.”
Qualifying for this year’s November elections is July 3 through 15.
Contact Emily Adams at email@example.com