Temple, TX — The longest serving mayor of a Central Texas city could soon be replaced by another man hoping to make history.
Temple mayor, William Jones III, is resigning after 11 years in office.
One of the two candidates running for the position, Lamar Collins, hopes to be the first African American elected to the position.
Jones says his resignation comes a year prior to the end of his term.
"I just need to get back to my business," said Jones. He runs a manufacturing business, with three seperate locations.
Jones is on record as Temple's longest serving mayor, with four elections to office. Collins says the resignation was a sign to him that it was his time to make a difference.
"When he resigned, I thought to myself, it's as if the stars are aligned," said Collins.
Collins is reaching out to the community, in efforts to get their support to place him in office. Already, he's making history.
"It is time for someone to rise up and challenge our citizens to take advantage of the opportunities here," said Collins.
Not only could Collins potentially be the first African American elected mayor in Temple, but he also hopes to be the one person who can drive more minorities, in the city, out to the polls to vote.
"The question is not 'do I have support'. The real question is 'will they vote'. And, I believe they will," said Collins.
Collins has lived in Central Texas for the past 20 years. He and his wife have four children, and they've been happily married for the last eleven years. Prior to moving to Central Texas, Collins was a soldier in the US Army. Collins believes "Temple is the land of opportunity", and he hopes to expand on jobs and healthcare if elected.
Historically, the minorites, located on the east side of town, have represented less than ten percent of the vote for decades.
"By Lamar running, he can energize the community at large to get out and vote. And, that's the most important thing that can come from this election," said Jones.
Prior to collins, only two other black men have run for office, in the city's 132 years of existing. Neither of the two men won elections. That was more than two decades ago.
"It may be historic. But, I don't look at it as groundbreaking because I know many qualified African Americans and Hispanics that could have thrown their hat in the ring to be mayor. And, they would have been a great mayor. They just elected not to," said Collins.
Although Collins wants minorities to vote, he doesn't want it to be for the wrong reasons. Voting based on someone's race, Collins says is not an informed voter.
"You want a person that's like minded, whether he's black, white, Puerto Rican, polka dot, or purple," said Collins.
Collins is running against Mayor Pro-Tem, Danny Dunn. Dunn was not available Tuesday for comment.
"I wish both of them the best. There's no way to learn this job except to be in the job," said Jones. Jones feels his most prized accomplishment in office was his ability to branch the community and have everyone involved with one another.
The election between Dunn and Collins will be held May 11. Early voting is from April 29 to May 7.