- The Washington Times - Monday, May 15, 2006

KELLER, Va. (AP) — For Keller’s new Town Council, the more married members, the merrier.

Voters in this Eastern Shore town of 173 elected three sets of wives and husbands to the council May 2.

Four couples ran for the six council seats, and the Stevenses, the Annises and the Mileses won.

The couples said they don’t expect differences of opinion between spouses to affect their marriages or their council work.

“What goes on in the Town Council will stay there,” Diane Annis said. “I have better things to worry about after I get out of the meeting.”

Mrs. Annis and Margaret Farlow Miles, both incumbents, persuaded their husbands to run after two council members announced that they would not seek re-election.

“It’s really hard to find people to serve on a committee,” said Mrs. Miles, whose husband, Samuel, joined her on the ballot.

Franklin Annis said he ran this year because no one else was interested.

“I don’t plan on leaving the town any time soon, so I might as well have a say in what goes on,” he said.

Lifetime resident Mary Ann Gu said she thinks it’s odd to have a council full of couples but added that it doesn’t bother her “if nobody else is going to do it.”

The Nutters, the fourth married couple who ran for election, didn’t like the idea of stacking the council with husbands and wives.

Claire Nutter said she and her husband, Sylvanus James, put their names on the ballot to try to split the vote.

“We knew we weren’t going to win,” she said.

Some of the candidates said the town attorney tried to talk the husbands out of running because he was concerned about the potential for conflicts of interest.

He is a bachelor, Georgie Mae Stevens pointed out.

She and her husband, Conway, have served on the council together since 1998 and will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in December.

They offer this advice to the younger couples on the council: Keep tempers in check and talk over the issues.

“If she gets out of hand, I slap her across my knees,” Mr. Stevens said jokingly.

At that, his wife flashed him a look of warning, like the one she gives him when he starts talking about touchy issues, such as past personality conflicts among council members.

“If he didn’t have a wife, he’d be in trouble,” she said.

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