Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

October 22, 2013

‘Let the games begin’

VALDOSTA — The Thirty Club hosted a political forum Monday night for the Valdosta City Council and school board candidates.

Valdosta attorney Roy W. Copeland moderated the event; the panel consisted of local media representatives Angie Penn and Lee Henderson. Copeland kicked the event off by saying, “Let the games begin,” then he introduced all of the attending candidates.

Valdosta City Council District Two candidates: Sandra J. Tooley, John Hogan, and Calvin Graham, Sr.

Valdosta City Council District Four candidates: Alvin Payton, Jr. (incumbent) and Junior S. Jackson.

Valdosta City Council District Six candidates: Robert Yost (incumbent), Richard S. Miller, and Joseph Wheeler.

Valdosta School Board District One candidates: Lizzie Shumphard and Edgar Cornelius Tooley.

Valdosta School Board District Two candidate: James L. Nelson.

In her opening statement, Sandra Tooley said that she is a builder, and she wants to join the council to build Valdosta.

Hogan opened by stating he wants to improve Valdosta's infrastructure, mainly the roads. He has seen many drainage issues that causes road erosion.

Graham said he has seen Valdosta grow, but wants to see it grow more.

Payton opened the forum for the candidates in District Four by stating he is a product of Valdosta city schools, and he is an advocate of education and growth. He wants to see his grandchildren grow up in Valdosta.

Jackson said he is a 22-year-old candidate, who has resided in Valdosta for four years. He sees many empty historic buildings around the city and wants to market these to attract new businesses.

Incumbent Robert Yost opened the forum for District Six. He said he has served for 12 years because a long time ago he decided to serve people. He encouraged residents to take advantage of early voting and to support SPLOST VII.

Miller said he is 62 years old, and was born and raised in Valdosta. He has watched the city grow, and his architecture career will allow him to help the council with the many zoning issues.

Opening with a strong stance against SPLOST VII, Wheeler promised to lessen the size of government, and to create a large service-based economy in Valdosta.

Valdosta School board candidate Shumphard said she has helped many students get their GED from Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, and she wants to continue to help students better themselves.

Edgar Tooley said he is a product of the Valdosta School system, and he grew up on the southside of town. Edgar Tooley notices the struggles of students, and he wants to level the playing field.

Nelson said he is running to lower the 47 percent drop-out rate among black students, because black students in Valdosta performed poorly on the CRCT test, and because Valdosta Middle and Valdosta High schools are on academic probation for the next three years. He wants to do something about that problem.

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