Valdosta Daily Times

October 11, 2013

Hahira meets the candidates

Stuart Taylor
The Valdosta Daily Times

HAHIRA — At a Meet the Candidate's Forum Thursday night at the Hahira Historical Society, six of the nine candidates for this Lowndes County city's offices spoke about their lives, experiences and qualifications for office.

Up first was Mason Barfield, who is running to represent District 4 on the Hahira City Council.

“Hahira has served me and my family very well,” said Barfield. “This is a great opportunity for me to return the favor.”

If elected, Barfield plans to “focus on the fundamentals” of Hahira, focusing on making it a safe place to live and work.

Two of the four candidates for mayor, Rose Adams and Bruce Cain, spoke at the forum, with each telling the gathered crowd of Hahirans that they are the right candidate.

Adams, who currently represents City Council District 4, cited her time in office as having helped prepare her for the role of mayor.

“The past seven years and nine months as a council member has given me the knowledge to know how a municipal government should operate,” said Adams.

She pledged to observe all Georgia Sunshine and Open Records laws and to support local fire, police and EMS services, while pushing for more

downtown development and working with the Industrial Authority to locate more businesses in the industrial park.

Cain, who served on City Council for five and a half years, also cited his time in office as a qualification for mayor, as well as time spent as an engineer with the City of Valdosta.

“I'm a hands-on candidate,” said Cain. “I do not mind getting my hands dirty.”

He also emphasized the importance of increasing funding for the fire department, as well as having a Downtown Development Authority, and pledged not to raise taxes.

Two of the three candidates running to represent District 2, Kenneth Davis and Traci Selph Davis, also spoke. Kenneth, a seven-year resident of Hahira, cited his work experience in pharmaceutical sales, as well as his education — a BFA degree and a master's of public administration — as preparing him for office.

“It will help me hit the ground running and ... shorten up my learning curve.”

Traci focused on her issues of concerned, which include downtown development, making the dump more accessible and the recent street flooding.

“We have a great little town,” said Traci. “That's why everybody wants to move here.”

Traci, an avid couponer, also spoke of her desire to save money.

Rounding out the candidates was Terry Benjamin, who is running unopposed for reelection as District 1 representative.

“It feels great not to have to run against someone,” joked Benjamin. “This will be my fourth term. ... Unlike Washington, you can be touched. People can talk to you. You can't skirt the issues because someone is going to catch you at the gas station or the Dollar General. That's the good thing about Hahira politics, you can be touched.”