Hogansville Post 4 candidates talk plans

Published 8:00 pm Friday, August 30, 2019

Two candidates are vying for post four on the Hogansville City Council. Mark Ayers, 28, is pursuing the seat incumbent George Bailey, 49, currently holds.  

Bailey decided to run for a third consecutive time because he said the past six years have been successful. 

“My leadership has been proven in Hogansville,” Bailey said. “I love the community and love to serve them. I like to celebrate the sense of the citizens and the things progressing even in a small city.” 

Bailey said since he stepped into office he has seen positive growth within the community and on the council. 

“I want to see more affordable homes come to Hogansville,” Bailey said. “I want to get our downtown development to progress further.” 

Bailey said he got his start at the American Legion and then slowly progressed his way to chamber and council. 

“I am the first African-American to be a chair on the LaGrange-Troup Chamber of Commerce,” Bailey said. “Being from a small town, I rose from a city, county level to state and national level of holding different chairs there.” 

Bailey said more growth is needed in Hogansville. 

“Most of the things people have come to us about since I have been in office are utilities and electrical,” Bailey said. “In order to grow, the cost of those things will be reduced. My main thing is for downtown to grow.” 

Recently, the grocery store Fred’s closed down, which leaves a gap for another store to come in, according to Bailey. 

“We need a grocery store on the west side,” Bailey said. “I think with me coming in as the chair of the chamber, I can help more with getting economic development in.” 

Bailey said he’s a people person, who wants the best for his Hogansville people. 

“I have been a pastor at Senoia Baptist Church for 20 years,” Bailey said. “I am Gulf War vet and have a heart for people.” 

Ayers, who co-owns and operates The Great Southern Pub in downtown Hogansville, said originally, he was not going to run for city council until later in life, but he determined he needed to run now.  

“I was one of the people on our team we thought could meet that need,” Ayers said. “I have been here for two-and-a-half-years, and in that time, I could list a number of different things the current city council has either done or not done or dragged their feet in doing that has negatively affected my business, my family and my life here in Hogansville.” 

Ayers said his whole life is in Hogansville, and he wants to start a family in the community. However, he wants to make sure that there is a reason for the generations after him to have a passion for the community as well. 

“If I have only been here two-and-a-half-years and that is already happening to me as a 28-year-old, I’m scared to think how long that has been going on for people their whole lives,” Ayers said. “I want there to be a reason for my kids to take over my business, and I want them to want to live in Hogansville. I think that a big change needs to happen with the city council, and even though they vote on a lot of things, a lot of those things I don’t think are important to this town.” 

Ayers originally qualified for Post 3, but made the change later in the week to qualify for Post 4.  

“It is very often that people come out of the woodwork that you had not originally heard was going to run or not, and they come out usually on Friday toward the end of the day,” Ayers said. “The goal was I pick a random post to see who else was running and then draw more people out to run.”

Ayers said all along he had the plan to run for the Post 4 seat. If elected, he hopes to see the community come together in unity.

“Hogansville can be divided up into different areas and people tend to only worry about their area,” Ayers said. “You have the west side, east side and Main Street that have different groups of people. Some either try to ignore that there are lines that exist, or they just try to help out people only on their side.” 

As someone who has lived in different areas of Hogansville, Ayers said he can help the community better understand one another. 

“Unifying the community will bring new life into the town,” Ayers said. 

 If he is elected, Ayers said he plans to help the education system and growth in the area. 

“I want to fill the buildings on Main Street,” Ayers said. “I want to work with the elementary school and other areas to work on the programs to possibly bring up the test scores here in town.

 I am on the same page with the principal with things that need to be brought in to help these kids who have always been relatively disadvantaged with their education.”