Who should be the next mayor of Valdosta?

David Sumner said Wednesday the city is struggling.

We agree. 

J.D. Rice said, “We can do better.”

Again, we agree. 

While both men were optimistic about what can be accomplished if elected mayor, neither of them tried to put lipstick on a pig and their candor and honesty were refreshing. 

Rice and Sumner did not really talk about themselves during the last candidate forum, they talked about challenges, opportunities and possibilities. 

Rice talked about vision. 

His poignant analysis about the Jimmy Rainwater administration and the former mayor’s vision turned reality was full of hope.

Still, neither of them ignored the obvious, viz. our economy is struggling, business development is lagging and infrastructure on the south side is crumbling. 

Rice talked about Rainwater’s vision, saying that where most people saw narrow roads and vacant land, Rainwater saw opportunity for expansion, growth and economic opportunity.  

Who has the vision now for the future of Valdosta? 

Sumner said this mayoral election is one of the most important elections in the history of Valdosta. While that may be a little hyperbolic, it may also be pretty close to the truth. 

Both men have made a strong case to be Valdosta’s next mayor. 

Leading up to the election, there are specific things we think our city must have at this crucial juncture as we pick our next mayor. 

We think the next mayor should be:

— pro-business 

— inclusive 

— transparent 

— accessible, personally, on social media, etc. 

— engaged

— visionary, with compelling vision for the future of Valdosta, more than just a caretaker 

— pragmatic 

— experienced in administration and leadership

— respectful of all people 

— a consensus builder 

— energetic 

— a strong communicator, anambassador for the city

— a good listener 

— honest, a person of integrity 

We are fortunate to have talented, intelligent, thoughtful candidates running for mayor. What we will be looking for leading up to early voting that begins Monday, Oct. 14, and Election Day on Nov. 5 is which of these men align best with the values, standards and positions we have identified here. 


The election is scheduled for Nov. 5. Early voting is scheduled 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Oct. 14-18; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19; noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Oct. 21-25; 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, Oct. 28 through Nov. 1, said Deb Cox, Lowndes County election supervisor. 

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