Seven candidates, including all four incumbents, are running for Riceboro City Council this year. The top four vote-getters in the Nov. 3 election will win the seats, all of which are citywide.
Louise Brown, 57, has lived in Riceboro since her childhood. Born in Brooklyn, New York, her parents moved back to Riceboro when she was in elementary school. She is married, has two sons and daughters-in-law, eight grandchildren and four goddaughters. Brown graduated from Bradwell Institute and worked in various law-enforcement departments, including the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and Hinesville Police Department, as a secretary. She works for the Board of Education as executive secretary to Jason Rogers. Brown and her husband also own Brown’s Barbecue Catering.
Brown said her inspiration to run came from her years of working with law enforcement and the example set by Leila Jones, the only female City Council member to serve in Riceboro. If elected, Brown wants to help create safe walking trails for senior citizens close to their homes.
“My first target out of everyone in the community are the senior citizens. They have a special place in my heart … and then those who are less fortunate,” Brown said. “I would like to be a voice for the people of my community … see what’s going on in a different arena in life, one in which I can go in and be able to help the people where I live and the county.”
Brown described herself as a positive person, who loves people and God.
Vanessa Collins-Roberts is married, has three children and four grandchildren. She is originally from Florida and has lived in Liberty County for 20 years. She has been a Riceboro resident for three years.
Collins-Roberts received an associate degree in marketing and management and a bachelor’s in economics. She will graduate from Armstrong State University in May with a master’s degree in public communication and leadership. She has worked for more than 20 years with the Liberty County Board of Commissioners, was director of a U.S. Department of Agriculture food-service program, worked to secure grants and was a dispatcher. She wants to use her experience and gifts for Riceboro.
“My main platform is that I campaign as a candidate who will communicate with people and for people,” she said. “My platform is to find out the concerns and interest that the community has so that we can have cohesiveness throughout the community.”
She said some of the community’s concerns include having more activities for youth, better looking yards and improving roads. Collins-Roberts also wants to help the city lower its debts. She described herself as honest, tenacious, consistent and reliable.
Charles Jones, 71, has been married for 53 years, has four children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Jones attended Riceboro Elementary School and reached eighth grade. He retired after 42 years at Coastal Utility. Jones said he ran for a county commissioners’ seat 20 years ago and lost. He is also a deacon at First African Baptist Church in Riceboro.
Jones wants to see Riceboro grow a little faster and see have more businesses and houses in Riceboro. He also said that SNF Chemtall Holding Company is using more water than regulated and that the city needs to get some of the water back before other potential industrial companies can arrive. Jones believes that the city council isn’t operating the city by the charter but by their own choices.
Jones said, “I believe that if I can be elected for City Council, I can get more done than the people there now.”
He feels that because he is retired, he has more time to visit companies and discuss having their business in Riceboro, as opposed to current council members who work in the daytime.
David Miller, 55, has lived in Riceboro for 26 years. He is married and has three children and four grandchildren. Miller graduated from Bradwell Institute, and a Bible college in Savannah. He is the owner of Miller Timber Company Inc. in Riceboro. Miller has been on the city council for eight years.
Miller said he fell in love with the people of Riceboro and wants to see the continued growth of the city. There are ongoing projects such as the building of the park that is part of the city’s master plan and the paving of different roads in the city. Miller said he doesn’t see any problems, there isn’t a lot of crime and that Riceboro is a nice place to live.
“We want to keep the city safe and for it to be a place where people live and raise a family. I had the opportunity after I got married to stay somewhere else, but I chose to stay in Riceboro. I get along with everyone, I got a lot friends and I do a lot of fishing,” Miller said.
He described himself as a people person, helpful and family man and said he tries to be a good example for others in the community.
Chris Stacy, 57, is married and has three children and two grandchildren. He is a graduate of Bradwell Institute and attended Central Technical College for slightly more than a year. He is retired from the military, currently works at Interstate Paper and is the local chapter Union President of the United States Steelworkers 1086.
Stacy has served on City Council for eight years. He is running again because he wants to see the completion of projects for the city. He believes in unity and community spirt, which was something he wanted to foster in his community after retiring from the military.
He wants to expand the Career Readiness program — a summer program to help youth gain workforce experience. Stacy wants to provide the same service for college students who are home for the summer. He is also proud of RiceFest. He called it the biggest festival in the county.
“There’s a strong spirit of unity of everyone working together with whoever gets elected. I believe that whatever you’re called to be, you’re going to do it before you get elected. I worked for the community before I was elected, and I will continue to work whether I get elected or not,” Stacy said.
He described himself as a caring, giving person who loves working with kids.
Tommy Williams, 67, is a lifelong resident of Riceboro. He is married, has two children and is retired from Interstate Paper after 42½ years of service. He graduated from Liberty County High School and studied marketing and management after high school but didn’t complete the program. Williams went back to school and studied air-conditioning and heating repair. He served in Vietnam and, after the military, came back to Riceboro. Williams also serves as the assistant bishop at Kingdom Church of Christ Holiness Unto The Lord in McIntosh County.
Williams has been a City Council member for 32 years.
“For this term, I would like for us to build upon what we’ve done over the past years. I believe in hearing the citizens’ concerns and their needs,” he said. “I don’t look at it as political. I look at is as doing something for the people.”
If re-elected, Williams said he will continue to help the city avoid having to levy a property tax.
Williams described himself as God-fearing, peaceful and kind to others.
John Young, 55, is a lifelong resident of Riceboro. He has been married for 34 years and has two sons. Young graduated from Bradwell Institute and has been an employee of Interstate Paper for 18 years. He is also a deacon at New Church in Christ in Unity in Riceboro.
“I’m running again for City Council to protect the citizens of Riceboro. We came in 2008 and we worked hard from 2008 until now. We got the city looking good, and the city is doing good. I think I’m a good candidate and that I’m doing a good job,” Young said.
Young mentioned that the Riceboro Fire Department needs more volunteers but that the city will keep moving forward. He said he believes in doing the right thing and that people are free to talk to him at any time.