Editor’s note: The only contested race in the Ludowici municipal election this year is for mayor. Incumbent James Fuller faces a challenger, Robert Parker. Here is a Q&A with Fuller.
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A: I’m 81 years old and have lived in Ludowici for 60 years. My wife is Nancy, and we have been married for 60 years. We have four children, four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. I was in the Navy for nine years, and I served in the Korean War. I have always been a hard worker, and I hope to keep working for the people of Ludowici for the next four years.
Q: Why do you want to serve four more years as the mayor of Ludowici?
A: We’ve started a lot of projects, and I want to see them through until the end. Along with the City Council, I was able to help get us a $500,000 grant, and with that money, we’ve put in new sewage on several different streets, and we’ve put in a pump station. We’ve also done a lot to clean up Ludowici, and it looks a lot better than it ever has. I want to keep working on making it look even better, because that is a big part of what will bring in more business. We’re also in the middle of getting our McDonald’s, and I want to see it get here. And I want to bring more businesses like it to Ludowici.
Q: What do you bring to the job that your opposition doesn’t bring?
A: Experience — experience in working with our city and our city government as mayor, but also experience being a part of the city of Ludowici. Before I ever ran for mayor, I was a city councilman, the chief of police and the head of the Water Department. Besides the last four years as mayor, I have 34 years working for Ludowici.
Q: What are some of your goals for the next four years?
A: What I really want to do is to keep looking for more money to bring to the city. We’re a small town, and without grants, we can’t do much of anything. But I want to continue improving our infrastructure and roads. I also want to look into getting a supermarket in Ludowici. I know we’re big enough to support one now. It’s just a matter now of getting in touch with the right people to bring one here. I also want to keep seeing our departments in the city improving. Our workers at City Hall are more professional than they have ever been. We had a mess when I was elected, and getting the right people in there was crucial to getting things in order. We also have a good Police Department now who knows how to work with the citizens and also protect them. All of our departments are doing a good job, and I want to keep improving them for the citizens.
Q: Ludowici doesn’t allow liquor sales, just beer and wine. Are you in favor of approving the sale of hard liquor?
A: Personally, no, I’m not. I think doing that would bring problems into our city that I would rather avoid. But I have no problem if the citizens want to go through the process of putting it on the ballot, us putting it on the ballot and letting them vote on it.
Q: How do you plan to bring more business to Ludowici?
A: We have to work together with the commissioners and the other groups like the Chamber of Commerce. We got a McDonald’s coming by going to McDonald’s. That’s what we have to do with other businesses. We got to go to them and do everything we can to help them so that they will want to come to Ludowici. If that takes giving them some incentives, we need to do that. People are coming to our city. What we have to keep doing is trying to bring in business to keep our money being spent over here instead of it being spent in other cities.
Q: How would you improve the infrastructure in Ludowici?
A: Fortunately, we were able to get some grant money. And we got our sewage system in good working order, and we should be good there for at least 20 years. We still need to keep working on our roads. We have resurfaced as many as we could with the money we had, but we have to keep doing everything we can to improve them and making them safe. We also have to keep working with the (Environmental Protection Division) on our water testing and monitoring. We cleaned up Freedom Park, put a fence around it and got new playground equipment for the kids. We just have to keep working.
Q: Is there anything else you want the people of Ludowici to know?
A: When I took office, our finances was a mess. We got that straightened out, and I want to make sure the citizens continue to know what our finances are and what we do. Two years ago, we put a two-term limit on the mayor. That’s as long as any one person should be in the position. This is my last term. Over the last four years, me and the City Council have built a good foundation for our city. We’re moving in the right direction, and I want us to keep moving in that direction and moving forward.