By Laura Camper / [email protected]
Many Grantville candidates made it a priority on Wednesday and Thursday nights to reach out to voters at three debates held in Newnan and Grantville – conspicuously missing the incumbents, City Council members Jim Sells, Ruby Hines and the Mayor Doug Jewel.
Counseling post 1
Council 1 candidate Dee Berry took the stage on Wednesday to explain her positions on things like improving the city’s infrastructure, downtown redevelopment, high-speed internet and a city government. who bickers. Incumbent Jim Sells did not attend the debate.
Berry, 81, a resident of Grantville since 2006, is active in the town. She is a past chair of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission and believes that preserving the city’s history is an important part of downtown revitalization, Berry said. Learning from history is important for a prosperous future, she said.
“History gives you an idea of where you’ve been, where you came from, how you survived, what you accomplished, and how you overcame challenges,” Berry said.
She also addressed the city council’s apparent inability to come together to move the city forward. It starts with treating each other with respect, she said.
“You have to work as a team,” Berry said. “So getting the cooperation of other board members is very important to me and I think I have the skills to do that.”
She said the city needs qualified personnel who can meet challenges and minimize problems in the future. It needs to focus on improving its infrastructure, including sidewalks, water, and internet access.
If elected, she would be able to get straight answers about why these things were overlooked and then tell the public, Berry said.
She would continue her Tea with Dee Sunday events to speak directly with residents to keep the lines of communication open with constituents.
Grantville is not a business, Berry pointed out. The city government is there to provide services to the public and to be good stewards of taxpayers’ money. She also noted that being female would make her uniquely qualified for this.
“Women can make things happen. We have a different view of the issues,” she said. “We want harmony and peace.”
On Thursday, mayoral candidates Johnny Cooks, Mark Bynum and Richard Proctor had a chance to answer the same questions. Outgoing Mayor Doug Jewell did not attend the debate.
Bynum and Proctor pitched their business experience as an advantage to the office — Bynum as a business owner in Grantville as well as work experience running large companies including PetSmart, and Proctor working in the food industry. communications, managing a $50 million budget and some 500 employees. . Cooks, however, highlighted his political experience as a city councilman.
“I have experience managing political affairs in municipal government,” Cooks said. “I think that already has me way above (the) ones here.”
They all denounced a lack of leadership in the city.
“We need leadership people,” Proctor said. “We need to come together as a community. We need to stop the infighting and we need a plan.
Downtown revitalization was a stated priority for everyone. Bynum noted that he has been running small businesses in the city’s downtown area for 10 years.
He said he would follow the Life Centers Initiative’s overall plan that was just created with input from city residents.
“I know they start from there and go to Newnan; they go to Lagrange; they go to Hogansville,” Bynum said. “Why can’t we get our own community of amenities that citizens actually need to keep them from going 20 or 30 minutes on the road?”
Cooks said he would like to create a business organization with existing businesses in the community and talk to them about how to improve the downtown area.
“Because a lot of companies out there already want to do more,” Cooks said. “In the meantime, you have to provide infrastructure in the city both from a utility point of view and both from a recreational point of view.”
Proctor and Cooks said the city’s authority in downtown revitalization is limited since most buildings are privately owned.
“In a private ownership situation, it’s up to those owners to lease or develop those buildings as they see fit,” Proctor said. “Now we would definitely like them to maintain the exterior exterior facades to give Grantville its old world charm.”
The city needs to help attract business by making Grantville attractive to residents, which will provide customers for businesses, he said.
“Create a comprehensive growth point for all of Grantville, not just downtown,” Proctor said. “We need to focus on what’s happening near I-85. We have to talk about the development of subdivisions.
The city needs to repair its infrastructure, the candidates said. Water, high-speed internet and sewage treatment all need to be improved, which requires planning and cooperation, they said.
“You have to form a team and come to an agreement,” Cooks said. “The first thing to do is to form a team.”
Bynum noted that Internet service will come to the city through Comcast early next year. Residents just have to be patient. They have to trust the process, he said.
“I spoke to a guy when he was running fiber right across the front of my fender shop,” Bynum said. “He said, ‘We have the internet, and it happens. We have to travel 41.2 miles to get it here.
Other things can be done internally once the city has an active plan with start and end dates, he said.
“Broadband Internet is like water today; everyone has to have it,” Proctor said. “I was in the Comcast company when the federal government gave grants to develop rural communities. No one here in Grantville knew how to get them, pushed them or saw the need for them. That’s what the mayor can do.
Proctor noted that he has already spoken to Comcast and AT&T.
What can the mayor do?
The city needs to use the resources it has, Bynum said.
“There are a lot of smart people who live in Grantville and these people want the same thing: it’s a community that lives better; they want growth, infrastructure, water,” he said.
A lack of leadership has held the city back, Cooks said. When he was on the board, he was thriving, he said.
“We had to vote together to do this stuff,” he said. “We had to want to get the kind of staff that had the capacity. … It’s all about people.
The supervisor agreed.
“It’s leadership. It’s vision. He is someone who is ready to roll up his sleeves and look to the future,” he said.
Candidates for Council Position 1
Address: 2 rue Post.
Occupation: Field Representative to the US Department of Commerce for the Census Bureau
Education: Bachelor of General Studies and Christian Principles from Brewton Parker College, Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Monterey Peninsula College, and Elementary Education from Central State University
Political experience: City clerk in Seaside, California, former member of the Grantville Historic Preservation Commission
Spouse: James O. Berry
Jim sells (I)
Age: 72 years old
Address: 5966 Highway 29
Occupation: Real estate investor at Hope Property Investments, former Delta Airlines pilot
Education: Graduated from Kimble High School in Dallas, Texas
Political experience: mayor of Grantville for four years, municipal councilor of Grantville for four years
Council Post 2 candidates
Address: 184 rue Lagrange.
Profession: self-employed at All Trades
Education: Graduated from Newnan High School
Political experience: none
Spouse: Nikki Clark
Ruby Hines (I)
Age: 80 years old
Address: 81 Clarence McCambry Road
Profession: retired secretary/accountant
Education: Graduated from Coweta High School, attended Meadows Business College, and earned an Association degree in Christian ministry from King’s University
Political experience: Served on city council for eight years
Spouse: JD Hines
Doug Jewell (incumbent)
Address: 249 Grandma Branch Road
Occupation: Retired and school bus driver for Heard County Schools
Education: some college education in the field of criminal justice
Political experience: mayor since 2015
Age: 70 years old
Address: 77 Griffin Street.
Occupation: Retired entrepreneur
Education: Bachelor of Education from Ball State University and Master of Education from Northwestern University in Indiana
Political experience: served on the municipal council of Grantville, from 2010 to 2014
Spouse: Karen Cooks
Age: 42 years old
Address: 14 College Street.
Occupation: Owner of three Grantville-based businesses: a nail salon, Harris Hand Barber College, and Miss V’s Wings
Education: Fort Stewart Army Education Center
Political experience: none
Age: 60 years old
Address: 279 rue Lagrange.
Profession: Author, former businessman in the telecommunications industry
Education: BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Georgia
Political experience: none
Spouse: Tegan Proctor