With other elected officials and more than 130 people in the gym at Shirley B. Winston Recreation Center, District 4 Councilor Evelyn Turner Pugh left no doubts about her plans to seek an eighth term serving the district.
"I look forward to continuing to serve District 4," Pugh told supporters Saturday. "I don't deny that I have a disability. I have Parkinson's. Parkinson's does not have me."
Pugh, who serves as mayor pro-tem on the 10-member Columbus Council, faces a challenge from newcomer Marquese "Skinny" Averett in the May 24 nonpartisan election.
Elected in 1988, Pugh said she never thought about how long she would serve the district, which stretches from Macon Road southwest to St. Marys Road.
"I said I would serve as long as I had new and fresh ideas," she said. "When I was no longer effective it's time to leave."
Pugh said there are still projects that she wants to continue in the city. She said the expansion of the Technology Park off of Macon and Schatulga roads can bring more jobs to Columbus.
"If we can bring more companies into Columbus, then the people here and people coming here looking for jobs have a better chance for better quality and higher paying jobs," she said.
Turner noted that it makes no difference whether a problem is local or on the federal level, she can get answers to questions. When a resident called her about his check getting cut because the government said he was dead, she knew he could get help from U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop's office.
"I know where to go," Pugh said. "He didn't stay dead too long. He is back alive. You need a leader who knows how to call other people.
"You want a leader who is a team builder with a proven record. I am that leader."
Supporters of Pugh included Dr. Robert L. Wright, a former councilor who served after consolidation, tax commissioner Lula Huff and Councilors Bruce Huff and Evelyn Woodson.
Wright said Pugh served as a volunteer on his campaign when he ran for council.
"I think Evelyn deserves to be elected as long as she wants to be elected on her terms, not anybody else's terms," he said.
Lula Huff said Columbus doesn't need to start over in District 4.
"This lady doesn't mind telling you like it is, whether you like it or not," she said. "She really doesn't care. She is going to do what's in the best interest of not just the district, but the entire community. She is all inclusive."
Tosha Turner, Pugh's daughter-in-law from Atlanta, said she is always seeking advice from the person who is more like her mother. As the director of finance for two offices, one in Bogota, Colombia, and another in New York, she still bounces questions off Pugh.
"As recently as two weeks ago, I have called this woman for advice," she said. "Her mind is much sharper than mine."