Newly elected Alma Mayor Keith Greene said he is looking forward to the challenge when he takes office Jan. 1.
"I just want to try to do the best job I can for Alma and the citizens of Alma," said Greene, a retired businessman.
Greene won Alma’s mayoral seat with 487 votes (66 percent) to former state representative Ed Thicksten’s 248 votes (34 percent).
The Alma mayor’s race was one of four settled in Tuesday’s runoff election in Crawford County.
Cedarville will retain its mayor, with Glenanna O’Mara receiving 138 votes (67 percent) to challenger Darren Langley’s 67 votes (33 percent). Cedarville’s Ward 2 Position 2 city council seat went to Wendell B. Moore with 111 votes (55 percent) with Roger Johnson getting 89 votes (45 percent).
For the Dyer mayoral seat, Billy Gale Morris received 146 votes (65 percent) to beat out James Lemieux with 79 votes (35 percent).
Greene, 72, has been a resident of Alma for more than 30 years. He was not surprised by his win, he said, claiming confidence throughout the election that he would come out on top.
"I’m thankful people realized [voting for me] was the right thing to do," Greene said.
Greene will replace long-time Mayor John Ballentine, who did not seek re-election this year. Ballentine has been Alma’s mayor for more than 22 years, but sought retirement because of health issues.
After 43 years in the business, Greene retired from poultry sales in 2008, first working in administration for three major companies and then as an independent sales contractor and corporate pilot.
For the last 11 years, before retiring in 2008, Greene was at the helm of his own company, EMA Foods Co. Inc., with offices in Atlanta, Ga., Enterprise, Ala., Tupelo, Miss., Turlock, Calif., and Alma.
Greene’s background includes 30 years in civil aviation, service in the Army and 42 years as a member and current commander of American Legion Post No. 31 in Fort Smith. He has been a substitute teacher at Alma High School for six years, volunteers regularly for youth organizations and has been a board member of the Alma Performing Arts Center for two years.
Greene and his wife Edna have been married for 51 years and they have two sons.