Get to know local candidates

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2019

In Tuesday’s paper, we wrote a column addressing how we will cover the upcoming November election, which will determine council members in LaGrange, Hogansville and West Point.

If you missed it, it’s available online.

But one thing not addressed in the column was a thank you to the 17 men and women who decided to run for elected office this year. It’s a huge step to decide to run for political office, where every decision you make happens in the public eye.

Five of those races — including three in Hogansville — will be competitive. In LaGrange, incumbent council member Mark Mitchell will be challenged by Curtis Brown and LaTasha Dudley. In West Point, five candidates — Gerald Ledbetter, Sandra Thornton, Deedee Williams, Wiky Gladden and Kesha Edwards-Coniglio — will compete for three spots. 

In Hogansville two council incumbents will face a challenge. Incumbent George Bailey will face Mark Ayers and incumbent Theresa Strickland will face Tori Striblin. The race for post three, where Fred Higgins elected not to run for office again, will be between Mandy Neese and Brenda Geter. 

LaGrange Council Members LeGree McCamey and Willie Edmondson and West Point Mayor Steve Tramell will all run unopposed.

We applaud all of these candidates, who took a courageous step to qualify. It’s a lot easier to sit in front of a computer screen and complain on Facebook, but these candidates decided to actually step forward and try to be a part of real change in this community. 

Politicians have to make important decisions on how to spend — or cut spending — of taxpayer money. There’s never enough money to cover everything that the local councils would like to get done, and that’s often where very difficult decisions come to a head.

Councils also make policy decisions. In example, the LaGrange City Council discussed for months how it wanted to handle the tourism funding before eventually making a bold decision to create a convention and visitors center bureau. The West Point Council just had to make a big decision on use of the city’s Forward Fund.

In Hogansville, the council has addressed many issues in the last few years, including what to do with the Royal Theatre, which currently serves as city hall.

These are the kind of decisions that affect the everyday life of the people who live in these communities. That’s why it’s so important to vote on Nov. 5.

There is so much attention already being paid to the upcoming presidential race, which at this point is still a year away. And there aren’t any competitive mayor’s race on this year’s ballot either. Unfortunately, both of those things are likely to hurt turnout.

But sitting out this election would be a mistake. There are roughly 10 weeks until election day. In that time, we encourage everyone to get to know their local candidates.

We are allowing each candidate to run an announcement about themselves in the paper in the weeks ahead, and we also plan on having plenty of coverage of each race as we count down to election day.

Make sure you know who your local candidates are and get to know them. Election Day will be here before we know it.