This week’s city election is all about Valdosta.
It is not about Atlanta Democrats
It is not about the GOP.
It is most certainly not about President Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
It is not even about new voting machines.
This week is all about J.D. Rice, Scott Matheson and who will lead the City of Valdosta for the next four years.
We hope voters will not be distracted by all the noise around this city election and will not be dissuaded from casting their votes.
Early voting turnout for this runoff election has been OK.
It hasn’t been horrific.
It hasn’t been good.
It has just been OK, at least for us.
We can do better. We can do a lot better and we should.
Wouldn’t it be nice to see somewhere around half of the electorate, 50% or more of the city’s registered voters, cast ballots to determine the future of our town?
Rice and Matheson are very different candidates with different visions for our city and its future.
This is a nonpartisan election with no Ds, Rs or Is beside the candidate’s name.
This election must not turn into an exercise in partisan politics.
We think it must be about downtown revitalization, south side infrastructure improvement, business deregulation, public transportation, responsible spending of taxpayer dollars, affordable housing, improved race relations, economic development, leveraging the resources that have often gone unheralded in the region, and — perhaps above all else — a commitment to put the standoff between the city and county over the state-mandated service delivery strategy agreement behind us and forge lasting inter-local agreements.
Who is best poised to move forward with both vision and pragmatism?
It is a tall order, and the next mayor will face multiple challenges. So, it is important that voters cast informed ballots and vote for all the right reasons, making this more than a popularity contest.
We are not picking a buddy or pal, we are picking our next mayor and it is important that we get it right.
Rice and Matheson have been conducting a months-long job interview, and now it is up to us to hire the best person for the job.
Review their qualifications, their experiences, their temperament and their overall records. Then, go to the polls Tuesday and make the choice that is best for the City of Valdosta.
Election Day is Tuesday. The polls will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
All registered voters can vote, even if you did not vote in the Nov. 5 election.