Hogansville candidates discuss why they should be elected

Published 7:19 pm Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Four of the six Hogansville City Council candidates participated in a political forum Tuesday at the Active Life Center.  

“Normally, at all the active life centers, we do not allow any politicking,” said Dan Wooten, Aging Services Manager. “But this is a special day because we have an educational forum. These candidates can ask for your vote, give you all the literature they want. It is a special day. It’s an opportunity for you to learn more about these candidates.” 

Each candidate was given six minutes to discuss why the community should vote for them and were chosen to speak at random by a drawing, according to Wooten. 

Mandi Neese was unable to attend due to a family emergency, according to Wooten. Brenda Geter was unable to attend as well due to unknown reasons.  



Councilwoman Strickland has been representing post 5 on the Hogansville City Council since 2015 and is eying reelection. 

“We have lived here for 40 years. Hogansville is home,” Strickland said. “Since then, I’ve hit the ground running. I signed up for Georgia Municipal Association classes and have completed 204 of the 276 hours towards total certification. For the past two years, my fellow council members have elected me Mayor Pro-tem. I was elected in 2018 and then reelected in 2019. With this decision is clear that my peers on council respect me and realize that I give 100 percent, and I’m dedicated to making the best decisions for the city and residents of Hogansville.”

Strickland said that during her time on council she has made it a priority to be involved with other community organizations that help the community and to advocate for the residents of Hogansville.  

“As you can see, I believe in being in the know, so I’m constantly seeking information to make the right decision for our city,” Strickland said. “As your council member, I have fought for effective and efficient government and have pushed for transparency. I have ensured citizens’ concerns are addressed.” 

Strickland mentioned that she has successfully negotiated for better police car deals, pushed for the robocall system that immediately informs residents of emergency situations and has pushed for utility bill transparency. 

“I have remained an outspoken advocate for fair decision making in real estate matters,” Strickland said. “Hogansville has a lot to be proud of. And I’m honored to have a role in making this city a place you can be proud to call home. I continue to be concerned with the city’s debt, roughly $13 million, including the utility system debt. The good news is that we’re moving in the right direction.” 

Strickland also added that the council was recently informed that the financial situation has for the first time in more than 15 years allowed the city to pay some of its annual expenses in full.

Toni Striblin 

Striblin has lived in Hogansville for the past 16 years since moving to the town in 2003. Her and her husband, Randy, own Roger’s Barbecue in Hogansville. Striblin is running for the Post 5 seat on the council.

Striblin started off her speech by talking about how important the baby boomer generation is. 

“The baby boomers are from the greatest generation ever, and we’re significant because we are the highest population in a demographic of seniors in the United States,” Striblin said. “In 2044, I will be 81-years-old. 81 is the average age of senior women. I have a lot I want to accomplish in the next 25 years.”

Striblin said that she has helped the community in several ways since moving to the community.  

“We’ve sponsored the Hogansville Christmas parades, Hogansville High School homecoming parade… we got that started in town because we feel like Hogansville needed a quality of life,” Striblin said. “I helped establish the Downtown Development Authority, sat on the board since the beginning, and became better hometown manager in Hogansville for three years. That was to focus on downtown development and economic development.” 

Striblin noted that anything the town does like pageants or parades, she and her husband make it a point to sponsor it. 

“We care about the development of our churches and of our youth,” Striblin said. “I sat on the THINC Academy steering committee for two years. I really care about the students. I felt like the school system was missing some things, so when the academy came up I said yes, I want to be a part of this.”

Striblin said she cares about the community and wants to keep reinvesting in Hogansville. 

“We are very vested in Hogansville,” Striblin said. “We’re so thankful for everybody in Hogansville that continue supporting us, and we support you guys.” 

George Bailey

Bailey has served on the Hogansville City Council since 2014 and is currently incumbent for Post 4. He moved to Hogansville in 2008 with his wife of 26 years, Daniella Bailey. 

“I am a Combat Gulf War Veteran, also Operation Sea Signal which is in Guantanamo Bay where we took Cuban migrants that were fleeing to the United States,” Bailey said. “I ended up getting my first church in LaGrange … in 2000 of the same year I had another one. God is really blessing me now.” 

Bailey holds the hat of pastor, veteran and city council member. He said that he immediately got involved in the Kiwanis and then the American Legion. 

“The first duty they gave me, not knowing me at all, was to put on the Veterans Day Program here … then the Memorial Day [program],” Bailey said. “So, 11 years I’ve been here in Hogansville all by myself, no committee. I have been on the council … I have moved up through the ranks.” 

According to Bailey, he is the second vice chair of 10 counties in the State of Georgia for the Georgia Municipal Association.

“Not only that, I’m the chair-elect of 2020,” Bailey said. “I’ll be the first African American and the first person ever from Hogansville for the chair of the Chamber of Commerce in Troup County, which I count as a great assignment for me.”

Along with the many other boards Bailey is a part of, he was also chosen as Mayor Pro-tem in 2017. 

“I am on the executive board of the chamber of commerce… I am also on the Leadership Council of the LaGrange College,” Baileys aid. “I helped put on the first MLK Day here in Hogansville.”

Mark Ayers 

Ayers moved to Hogansville four-years-ago to be a part of Team Pioneer, a small nonprofit business incubator, desiring to cultivate economic growth throughout the community. 

He is currently running for Post 4, against Bailey. 

“What we have done as a team, collaboratively, over the last four years has been to revitalize Hogansville in a number of different ways,” Ayers said. “Some people want to come in just throw business, some people want to come in and just throw ministry. Some people want to come in and just focus on one thing. We decided to come together to try and bring change to Hogansville as a whole.”

According to Ayers, Pioneer has helped more than 100 young people move into Hogansville.

“Not to take other people’s homes, but to move into homes that have been empty, some of which have been empty for decades,” Ayers said. “[They] have come in and revitalized those homes and brought those homes back to life over here in the village and over on the west side of town as well. We have also been responsible for a lot of the business growth on the lower end of Main Street.”

Ayers owns the Great Southern Pub of Hogansville inside the train station. 

Aside from growing the businesses in Hogansville, Ayers wants to help on the educational side and foster care. 

“We are now serving with several different organizations trying to get more foster parents for mainly children in Troup County,” Ayers said. “We’re focusing on getting more foster homes in Troup County for Troup County kids so that kids from this area are not taken from that area after they’re taken from their homes.” 

He said that he wants to help bring up test scores for children in town. 

“On the educational side, often cities do rely more on the state level to help with the educational side of things for the test scores and the kids in town,” Ayers said. “I do think the city can do a lot more to help that by offering different programs for free tutoring free mentorship programs, stuff the city is begging me for personally, and we would love to have the whole city behind it.”