McCamey, Kirkland discuss issues in District 5

Published 12:30 pm Saturday, May 14, 2022

Democratic candidates for Troup County Commission District 5 participated in a candidate forum Tuesday at the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce. Incumbent Jimmy McCamey, who took over the unexpired term of the late Richard English, is being challenged by Joe Kirkland.  The primary is May 24 and early voting is taking place now.

Workforce Needs/Affordable Housing

McCamey said District 5 has been hit the hardest as far as affordable housing. He said there ar  a lot of developments in Troup County but a lot of them are high-end homes.

He also said a lot of the land in Troup County needs to be repurposed, especially if commissioners can incentivize landlords.

“I also want to look at our educational system in terms of being able to create an opportunity for vocational training in our high school settings,” McCamey said. “We have our young youth who can leave high school with a trade if they work in collaboration with a vocational school. If they can do that, then we create jobs at that point where people can have the income to have affordable homes.”

Kirkland agreed the commission should invest in education, but also said there’s an opportunity to rehabilitate existing structures to help with affordable housing needs.

Both candidates also mentioned collaborating with DASH and the housing authority.

Kirkland also said teaching financial literacy could be a key component of helping someone afford a place to live.

“I think we should invest in programs to increase financial literacy, so people are learning how to build their credit to get affordable houses,” Kirkland said.

Keeping Young People Here

McCamey said the commission has to be creative in creating diverse activities across the lifespan.

“What I hear a lot of people say is, we have a lot to do for our elderly population or for our older population. What can we do for our younger population? If we can create those particular activities, take some of our entertainment facilities and create opportunities for that particular population to stay. Because they would like to stay,” McCamey said. “They travel to Columbus, they travel to Atlanta, they travel to Auburn to get these activities. We want to keep those dollars in Troup County. How do we do that? We create activities for them, and they will also keep their families here as well.”

Kirkland said Troup County needs to find something for the younger generation to do. He specifically mentioned getting a bowling alley in LaGrange.

“There’s nothing to do in LaGrange. That’s what I’ve been hearing in my campaign. There’s no activities,” Kirkland said. “… Something positive for them to do. Somewhere the youth can go.”

Attracting

Retail/Small

Business

Opportunities

Kirkland said Troup County needs more rooftops, more affordable housing, to make our area more attractive for businesses like Target or the bowling alley he’d mentioned previously.

“We need to invest in the infrastructure. Invest in the sewer, water, the broadband,” he said.

McCamey said now that he’s been in the position for four months, he sees things very differently between “what needs to be done” and “what can be done.”

He said incentives need to be creative for big box retail, but affordable housing has to be addressed first.

“I would also focus on Hamilton Road. I think there are so many different opportunities coming off Hamilton Road, Whitesville Road, that can enhance our city and bring in more industry and bring in more housing,” McCamey said.

He also said he’d like to see more mixed developments, as other nearby cities use.

OTHER TOPICS

The forum also included questions about the poverty level, collaborating between the county and the three cities and hiring more help at the sheriff’s office.  To see the full forum, visit The LaGrange Daily News Facebook page.