Walthourville City Council has five members, all of whom are up for election this year. But only two of those seats are contested.
Incumbents Patricia Green (Post 1), Charlie Anderson Sr. (Post 2) and Luciria Lovette (Post 4) are all unchallenged. Here is a look at the contested races.
Three candidates are vying for the Post 3 City Council seat.
Larry Baker, 48, is a lifelong resident of Walthourville. He is married to Brenda Baker, has three daughters and three grandchildren. Baker is a graduate of Bradwell Institute and was previously a councilman, from 1999 to 2011.
Baker is running for council again because Walthourville is his home.
“I was born in the city of Walthourville, Ga., I know what this city is, I know what is has been and I know most important, what it can still become, I will work tirelessly to help lead the city,” he said in a written statement to the Coastal Courier.
If elected, he would advocate for renewing the Special Purpose Local Options Sales to fund road repairs and drainage, work to bring the Liberty Transit bus system to the city, and work with the county to develop a youth commission for Walthourville.
“I’m committed to the growth of Walthourville as a city. I will work to bring more retail and businesses to the city,” Baker wrote. “I love Walthourville because it’s my home, where I was born and raised. I want every citizen of Walthourville to know that I’m just a phone call away.”
Sarah Hayes, 59, is the incumbent. She has three children and seven grandchildren. She has degrees in corrections, human services and computer science. Hayes has been a resident of Walthourville since 1991 while stationed at Fort Stewart and after retirement from the military.
“I do a lot of work in the community, and I see the needs of the citizens. I want to continue seeing our city progress and grow,” Hayes said.
She wants to help develop a community/recreation center with activities for youth and seniors. Hayes teaches free computer courses and would like to teach at that community center.
Hayes said she helped improve the Fire Department and was instrumental in curbing crime. She is the coordinator of her neighborhood block watch and was able increase cooperation between the Police Department and residents.
Hayes is establishing a junior block-watch committee for youth and is organizing training for all block-watch participants.
“I want to people to know that I am here to stay. I love what I do. I’m very approachable and I’m here to do all I can for our city,” Hayes said. “I believe that everyone has to work together to improve our city and make it great.”
Sadaetirs Smith, 38, is married, has two daughters and owns two businesses in Savannah — S&V Auto Sales Inc. and Nia Association, an account, payroll and tax business.
Smith is running for council because she said it’s time for change. She grew up in Walthourville and said she watched it grow from nothing to something. Smith describes herself as a people person and businesswoman who loves children. She feels there are not enough of activities for children in the city, such as a community center, swimming pool or library, and not enough of an effort to bring in more jobs to the area.
The theme for her campaign is moving in a new direction and change.
“If we want to change, we have to become the change,” Smith said. “My great-grandmother, Carrie Kent Brown, was the first black female elected mayor (of Walthourville). Back then, we used to be all together, and I want to see that again.”
Her priorities include bringing a library, community center and Liberty Transit to the city.
“I want to be a part of bringing the bus system to Walthourville,” she said. “A lot of people who live here don’t have cars, and I think it’s important to have transit.”
In Post 5, incumbent James Hendry faces challenger Vincent Pray.
Hendry, 66, is a native and lifelong resident of Walthourville. He is a widower with four children and nine grandchildren. He attended Liberty County High School until 11th grade and is now retired. Hendry works part-time for the county’s solid-waste department.
He has been on City Council for 21 years and said he wants to keep serving the community. During his time on the council, Hendry helped to get two community parks for the city, supported the remodeling of City Hall and supported the opening of two businesses — Dollar General and Family Dollar.
If re-elected, Hendry would like to address housing matters, improving streets and activities for children and senior citizens.
“I do a good job. I know about Walthourville because I was born here. If they give me another chance, I will serve to the best of my ability and try to keep Walthourville moving,” he said. “I want to continue what was started.”
Hendry thanked the people who have supported him for the last 21 years and would like their support again for the next four years.
Pray, 52, is also a Walthourville native. He has been married for 25 years and has two children. He was in the U.S. Army for 8½ years and is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. Pray has worked at SNF Chemtall for 22 years.
He attended Bradwell Institute and is enrolled at St. Leo University, working toward a degree in business management.
Pray is running for City Council because he wants to help make changes.
“I want to assist in lowering water bills, sewage and, especially, bring some form of entertainment for the children and adults,” he said.
His suggestions include a bowling alley and movie theater. He would also like to see a grocery store in Walthourville.
Pray said he is willing to learn and be trained in the duties of a council member. Three main issues he would like to address are the city’s water bills, establishing more businesses in Walthourville and increasing community involvement at City Council meetings.
“I’m going to be here. I’m a lifelong citizen, and I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I will work hard for the people of Walthourville and to keep the city moving.”