OUR VIEW: LaGrange has two good candidates for mayor

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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Last week’s mayoral forum seemed to confirm what many of us thought: LaGrange will be OK regardless of which candidate is elected mayor.

Both candidates, Jim Arrington and Willie Edmondson, showed throughout the forum that they can answer tough questions and are knowledgeable about current projects and the future outlook of the city. Of course, that’s what you’d expect from two men who have served on the council for five years (Arrington) and over two decades (Edmondson).

But we think that’s where voters are going to run into an issue.

Arrington and Edmondson didn’t really distinguish themselves from one another. 

They were very cordial, both throwing a few fun jokes at one another, and as a partner in the forum with the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce in the forum, we appreciated that. Each candidate acted like the gentleman they are.

But the truth is Arrington and Edmondson have voted together on a lot of topics over their five years on council together. 

It was clear throughout the night that Edmondson could rattle off things from years and years ago that he played a role in on city council. 

Arrington was really comfortable discussing affordable housing, as that’s right in his wheelhouse.

But there were a lot more similarities than differences. Both saw the city through COVID. Both have played a role in recent project “wins” for the city, such as new parks.  When it came to the most controversial issue of the night — cutting back city spending on nonprofits — both gave their reasoning, and it was basically the same. Paraphrasing, both said the city needed to save money and thought it best that the nonprofits find another way to be sustainable. 

City property taxes? Both can’t see that happening.

Filling the fire and police chief jobs? Both (as you’d expect) want the best person for the job. There was a question early in the forum asking the candidates to differentiate themselves from the other. Age and experience were the main talking points.

Do voters want the younger Arrington or the more experienced Edmondson? Is that what this is going to come down to? 

Early voting started Monday, and it feels like it’s going to be a very tight race.