The Valdosta Daily Times
Stars-and-stripe banners welcomed candidates seeking public office in area municipalities Tuesday night.
Kevin McCraney, the Chamber’s Government Affairs Council vice chair, served as moderator for the event sponsored by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce, Home Builders Association of Georgia, and the Valdosta Board of Relators.
Here's a look at the candidates who attended the candidates forum:
Valdosta City Council District 2
Sandra J. Tooley: Tooley has been a long-time resident of District 2. She attended school there, and began working at the age of 14 in the district. Tooley described herself as a builder who wants to see growth in her district. “I don't want to see projects start, but completed. Roads not patched up, but fixed up,” Tooley said.
John Hogan: Hogan knows District 2, and he knows the people in the district. Owning a small business, Hogan knows the importance of business in communities, and is looking to ensure both residential and business growth in his district.
Calvin Graham Sr.: Graham grew up in District 2. He is a retired Army veteran who has worked with the Veteran Council for 20 years. Seeing growth in Valdosta for 20 years, Graham wants to continue the growth in the district. Having two careers of leadership experience, Graham said, “I will be the voice of concern, and I will serve District 2 as proud as I served in the Army.”
Valdosta City Council District 4
Junior S. Jackson: Jackson was born in Patterson, N.J., in 1991. After his birth, his father died from Sickle Cell Anemia, and when he was young, Jackson was diagnosed with cancer which led to him losing a leg. Graduating soon with a degree in marketing, he plans to attend graduate school. Jackson always answers the call to serve, and is running because he wants to retain Valdosta State University's graduates because they are valuable citizens to the city.
Valdosta City Council District 6
Robert Yost (Incumbent): Yost has served as councilman for District 6 for 12 years, and has unfinished business to do. He has helped complete works that have improved the city's flooding and Waste Water Treatment Plant issues. Yost prides himself on being upfront, and wants to continue serving the district. Yost encouraged the public to pass SPLOST and vote for him.
Richard S. Miller: Miller has resided in Valdosta his entire life, and once served on the City of Remerton's council. In 2006, Miller moved to Valdosta's District 6 to start his architecture business. This has given Miller insight on residential and commercial developments. Miller promised to be the voice of reason and fairness for the residents of District 6 and for Valdosta.
Joseph Wheeler: Wheeler believes in the free market and in capitalism. Wheeler said that eminent domain should only be used for extreme cases. He believes that the local governments should only provide the needs, and sees areas where the local governments can cut spending. Wheeler believes in a two-term limit, and if elected, he vows to stand behind that belief. Wheeler's final statements were in opposition of the SPLOST VII, saying that a new tax will push residents out of Valdosta.
Hahira City Council District 4:
H. Mason Barfield: Barfield has been a long-time resident of Hahira, but he was absent for 26 years. He attended school in Valdosta, and he is a graduate of VSU. He taught and coached in Valdosta, until he moved to do the same in Atlanta, Kennisaw, and in Marrow. He now works part time at Valdosta State University helping the athletic director. Barfield said that the City of Hahira is a special place, where at first he wanted to leave, but once he did, all he wanted was to go back home to Hahira.
SPLOST VII Referendum:
Suzan Prince, SPLOST committee: Grew up in Nashville, and moved to Valdosta because her husband, Jay Prince, had a business here. As soon as she moved into the community, she got involved in the community to promote growth. Prince urged citizens to pass SPLOST because it promotes growth, and it has been around since the 1980s. Recommending the public to vote “yes” on SPLOST VII, Prince said that SPLOST is a shared and fair tax.