Mitchell to face Brown again for council seat

Published 9:00 am Thursday, August 31, 2023

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The upcoming LaGrange City Council District 1C race will be a rematch between previous political rivals. Incumbent Councilman Mark Mitchell will once again face off against Curtis Brown Jr.

Brown took on Mitchell and Latasha Dudley in a three-person race for the same seat four years ago but ultimately fell short in the election. In the previous election, Brown ran under the slogan, “We’re in this together.”

“I believe that slogan and that vision for the community is just as or probably more valid now more than ever,” Brown said.

Brown said that seeing Mitchell, at least initially, running unopposed helped inspire him to run again.

“I was disappointed that no one stepped up to challenge the incumbent councilman and, there was no way I could let anyone go unchallenged, especially with such important issues going on right now,” Brown said, saying he has made significant headway since his previous run.

Mitchell will rely on his experience to help him earn his third term on the council.

Mitchell previously won victories over Brown and longtime Councilman Bobby Traylor for the seat.

Mitchell said he is looking forward to running again and is hoping his constituents will consider putting him back in office.

The incumbent said public safety is one of his primary concerns for the upcoming term.

“We’ve got to get our public safety up to full capacity, and we’ve got to provide our police department with whatever they need to get to go after these criminals that are committing these terrible shootings and killings. That’s my main priority, providing the police department and the medical services whatever they need,” Michell said, noting he would support raises for fire personnel as well.

Mitchell, a former Georgia State Patrol Trooper, said he brings useful experience to the council from his public safety career.

“I feel a lot of the council members listen to me when I give advice on issues that are occurring within the police department and in the public safety realm,” Mitchell said.

Brown said the finance and business acumen he would bring to the council are needed by local government.

Brown currently serves as a full-time faculty member at LaGrange College’s Business Department teaching  marketing and marketing management classes.

He said he also runs his business, American Business Development Partners, where he does business development, sales and marketing consulting.

“I started my career on Wall Street. I’ve also done various finance and strategic finance roles at Fortune 500 companies and other financial institutions. So I bring a level of financial acumen that I think is needed when you’re making these types of decisions for government,” Brown said.

Mitchell said one of his goals is to make sure that LaGrange’s infrastructure can keep up with the city’s growth.

“There’s a lot of concern about the amount of growth that we’re having in certain areas. I’m very concerned with the bypass and all the schools that are on the bypass and now with Remington. It’s just going to bring a flood of traffic,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said the city is working with and putting pressure on GDOT to help with the traffic issues in LaGrange, including near the new Publix shopping center.

“We’ve just got a lot of work that’s got to be done on our state route roads that the city has got to keep putting pressure on GDOT to move it forward, but it seems like the wheels turn slow,” Mitchell said.

Brown said the main thing he wants to accomplish is getting back to the concerns of the citizens.

“What I hope to accomplish is getting back to where the citizens feel that they have a voice. The citizens feel that they have a connection to our city council and our leadership and have an opportunity to hear what their concerns are and take those concerns and really have thoughtful policy that’s around those concerns,” Brown said.

Mitchell promised that he will continue to do anything he can to keep from having a city property tax.

The city has financed its operations for many years using utility sales, which remain the lowest in Troup County.

“We feel like that’s a positive for the citizens of our city. Hopefully, this inflation will come down. I know it’s hard on a lot of people and a lot of the seniors. We understand it, but if the citizens see fit to put me in office [again], I’ll do my best,” Mitchell said.