Editor’s note: The Courier will be profiling candidates in the cities’ municipal races.
Hinesville Mayor Allen Brown, the incumbent, will face off against a familiar opponent, Liston Singletary III, who ran against Brown and three other mayoral candidates in 2014.
Brown, 72, is a native of Hinesville. He previously served as mayor of Hinesville from 1992-1999. He currently serves as Chairman of the Liberty County Development Authority, and previously served as a Hinesville city council member and as city administrator. Brown graduated from Bradwell Institute in 1965 and attended the University of South Carolina and Georgia Southwestern University, where he earned a degree in marketing, according to the City of Hinesville’s website. He began his career in real-estate in 1978 and became a Broker-Owner in 1981. He is a past president of AUSA (Association of the United States Army), the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, Hinesville Rotary Club and the Hinesville Area Board of Realtors. He attends First United Methodist Church in downtown Hinesville. His family includes wife Debbie Ayers Brown and daughter Meredith.
Singletary has been a Hinesville resident for 20 years. He is president and CEO of The Mediation Group, LLC, and is an Army veteran having served more than 24 years, according to his campaign website. Singletary has served on the Hinesville Ethics Board and the Hinesville Housing Authority Board, and is a Past Georgia State Conference NAACP 1st Vice President and a Past Liberty County NAACP President. In 2008, he graduated cum laude from former Armstrong Atlantic State University with a bachelor’s in Political Science and in 2015, earned a Master of Arts from Webster University in Management & Leadership. He is a licensed and ordained minister and attends Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
He is the father of four children.
The Courier asked each candidate what their priorities are, and why they feel they are the best candidate to represent the city.
Singletary said city government should “exercise more fiscal responsibility and explore alternatives other than resorting to balancing the budget on the backs of homeowners.”
Singletary said he supports SPLOST (Special Purchase Local Sales Tax) as long as, “the citizens are afforded an opportunity to provide meaningful input on how the money will be spent in their community especially if the bulk of the money is going toward capital improvement, debt reduction and elimination.”
He commented that area youth need more opportunities, and suggested supporting investors who can offer educational and recreational options like bringing skating rinks and bowling alleys to Hinesville. Singletary said the Boys and Girls Club and a future expansion of Westside Recreation Center are also projects that should be supported.
“If elected as mayor, the citizens of Hinesville can expect a proactive city government that’s inclusive and open to input about improving our city and helping it to reach its fullest potential,” he said.
Singletary believes his professional experience makes him the best candidate for mayor.
“I believe that I possess the leadership qualities that are required to create the synergy needed to bring the city council together,” he said. “I have over 40 years of experience in management and leadership and understand how to deal with complex issues and diverse ideas. “
He also said if elected, he would have an open door policy.
“The urgency of the moment dictates that a true servant leader is required,” Singletary said. “My understanding of municipal government shall enable me to deal with many of the complexities that our city is currently confronted with. The city deserves a leader that is in touch with the city employees, and the community it serves. A leader must be accessible and accountable to the community. I am that leader!”
Mayor Brown outlined his goals and objectives.
“The most important issues to me are having positive, experienced leadership in Hinesville, fiscal responsibility, the ability to work well with other mayors in the area and our county commission, continuing and building upon our youth development programs, continuing to develop our community as a regional shopping area and improving our current traffic situation,” the incumbent, Mayor Brown, told the Courier.
Brown, like Singletary, pointed to his experience as a public servant.
“I have the experience of being a successful mayor for our city for 12 years, and the leadership ability to continue to move our city forward. Also, I have helped grow the relationship with Fort Stewart’s leadership and would love to continue to grow it in the future.”
Brown said he’d like to continue building on the successes of the last four years.
“We have experienced unprecedented residential and commercial growth with over 450 new businesses alone in the last 3-and-a-half years, with many employment opportunities,” he said. “We’ve lowered the millage rate and added money to our reserve fund, the sales tax revenue is up over 18 percent, and we’ve gotten SPLOST approved again, and we must continue this progress. Also, the city and county are currently working on a plan for a freight connector, which will alleviate some of the traffic issues and I want to be an active participant in these plans.”
The last day residents can register to vote in the city elections is Oct. 7. Early voting will be held from Oct. 15-Nov. 1. Election Day is Nov. 5.
The Liberty County NAACP plans to host two candidate forums in October. A forum for Riceboro city council and mayoral candidates will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, at the Riceboro Youth Center,
5649 South Coastal Highway in Riceboro. A candidate forum for city races in Hinesville, Walthourville and Allenhurst will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center.
Candidates can call 706-876-0156, ext. 1023 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive profile questions, so they may be profiled in an upcoming issue of the Courier prior to the election.