Editor’s note: The only contested race in the Ludowici municipal election this year is for mayor. Robert Parker is challenging incumbent James Fuller. Here is a Q&A with Parker.
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A: My name is Robert Parker, and I am running for mayor of Ludowici. My parents are Donald and Jackie Parker, and I am married to the former Amanda Mummey of Rye Patch and have one son, Jack. I am a lifelong resident of Ludowici and a 2004 graduate of Long County High. I have worked in public service in Ludowici and Long County my entire life, beginning my career as a police officer with the Ludowici Police Department in 2004. I was appointed deputy coroner in 2006 and have held that position for the past nine years. I am also currently serving on the Long County Development Authority. Since 2011, I have been employed with Low Country Cremation and Burial Services in Glennville, where I serve as vice president overseeing the day-to-day operations at our two locations. I also own and operate Parker Mortuary Transport in Long County.
Q: Why do you want to be mayor of Ludowici?
A: I want to be mayor of Ludowici because I want to give something back to the community I love and have lived in all my life. I think it is time our city was brought into the 21st century, and I am dedicated, hardworking and have the political connections and business relationships to do just that. I want to be mayor so that the people of our great city have a voice.
Q: What do you bring to the job that your opposition doesn’t bring?
A: The No. 1 thing I bring that my opponent does not is the desire for change. Our city will not move forward or even survive under the same practices and policies that have been utilized for 50 years. The second thing I bring is business experience. Businesses want to deal with businesspeople, plain and simple. If you can manage money in business, you can manage anything. After all, if you fall short in business, the only option is to make cuts, not raise taxes. The third thing I bring to the table is an open mind. I am ready and willing to entertain any ideas or thoughts for the improvement of our community, whomever the source may be.
Q: What are some of your goals for the next four years?
A: My primary goal is making our city more business-friendly. This is something I feel can only be accomplished by a person who comes from a business background. Second, we need to improve our infrastructure. Our roads, buildings, sewage systems and parks have been neglected for too long. I think a clear, unbiased knowledge of the difference in “improvements” and “maintenance” will go a long way in modernizing our infrastructure. Third, I would like to see better support for our public-safety professionals. We have good people; they just need to be empowered. Our Police Department doesn’t even employ an investigator, something unheard of for an agency our size. The lack of city input in the recent fire-chief hiring also shows a lack of public-safety concern.
Q: Ludowici doesn’t allow liquor sales, just beer and wine. Are you in favor of approving the sale of hard liquor?
A: I am in favor of the voters’ right to choose in the matter of a liquor ordinance. One of the greatest problems in our country today is that our representatives and elected officials ignore the will of the people. I say we put it on the ballot and let the citizens vote.
Q: How do you plan to bring more business to Ludowici?
A: In order to bring more businesses to our community, I believe the mayor has to be proactive in seeking them. This includes building relationships with business professionals and keeping your nose to the ground for any potential businesses looking to expand in our area. When people look to open a business in Ludowici, there should be clear guidelines to do so. It should be a streamlined process with clear guidelines for everyone. If elected as your mayor, I pledge to personally meet with every potential business investor who is interested in calling Ludowici home. I am a firm believer business is attracted by businessmen, not career politicians.
Q: How would you improve the infrastructure in Ludowici?
A: Sadly, our infrastructure in Ludowici is poorly outdated. There isn’t a road in Ludowici that hasn’t been dug up to repair a water or sewer line and then poorly and inadequately repaired afterwards. The only way to improve these problems is for trained professionals to fix things right the first time, and I plan to ensure this is done. Our sewer system is antiquated and needs modernizing. This won’t be cheap, but it can be done through grant funding. It just simply has to be made a priority.
Q: Is there anything else that you wish to add?
A: The only thing I can add is that I can only make two promises. And that is to do the best job I possibly can, and to always listen to the will of the people should you choose to elect me as your mayor. I appreciate every person who took their time to read this, and humbly and respectfully ask you for your vote.