After qualifying, several candidates spoke up about the issues they think need to be addressed in Hinesville. Among the subjects touched on:
• Cut spending
• Reduce unemployment
• Rethink the Liberty Transit bus system
• Bring public works back under city control
• Bring in new business
• Increase public safety
Candidates running for municipal offices are pawing at the starting gate since qualifying ended last week for the cities of Hinesville, Riceboro, Walthourville and Allenhurst.
Municipal elections will be Tuesday, Nov. 8, Liberty County Election Supervisor Ella Golden confirmed.
The city of Gum Branch’s qualifying period began Tuesday and will end Thursday, according to Gum Branch City Clerk Evelyn Strickland. Gum Branch’s current mayor and council members are, respectively, Richard Strickland, Edward Wells, Charles Simpson, Kathy Todd and Irene Chandler, Evelyn Strickland said.
Allenhurst Mayor Thomas Hines said his city will not hold an election in November because only the incumbents qualified to run.
Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, who is running for a second term, will face two opponents: Robert W. “Billy” Kitchings and Tyrone M. Adams, according to City Clerk Sarah Lumpkin.
Thomas qualified to run on Sept. 1. Kitchings qualified on Aug. 29, Lumpkin said. Kitchings is 73 years old and retired, according to city records. Adams, 47, a taxi driver, qualified on Sept. 2, Lumpkin said.
Kitchings said his main objective as mayor would be to protect the taxpayer and ensure the safety of Hinesville’s residents.
“I want to cut spending and I want to get rid of the buses and bring public works back under the city’s control,” he said. “I would get rid of the contractor — (CH2MHILL) OMI — not the personnel. That will cut costs.”
Adams, a taxi cab driver and former co-owner of the closed Colloseum Sports Palace and Grill, wants to put city government “back in the hands of the people.”
“We need a fair, friendly and honest city government,” he said. “And we need to become a truly business-friendly city. The unemployment rate is 10.1 percent. Bringing in new businesses would help bring unemployment down.”
The incumbent city council members all qualified to run on Aug. 29.
District 1 Council Member Charles Frasier, 65, will face Diana F. Reid. Reid, 53, is an administrative assistant.
District 2 Council Member Jason Floyd, 37, is running unopposed, as is District 3 Council Member David Anderson, 73.
District 4 Council Member Keith Jenkins, a Liberty County Sheriff’s deputy, will run against Dr. Douglass Burgess Jr. Burgess is a bus driver and business consultant, according to city records. Burgess, 54, qualified on Sept. 2.
District 5 Council Member Ken Shaw, 59, is being challenged by three candidates: Hannah Williams-Donegan, John Spradley and Angela Wilson. Williams-Donegan, 58, is a real estate broker. She qualified on Aug. 29. Spradley, 41, is a business owner and Wilson, 48, is in sales and advertising, according to city records. Spradley qualified on Aug. 30 and Wilson qualified on Sept. 2.
Walthourville Post 3 Council Member Larry Baker qualified to run for mayor on Sept. 1, Walthourville City Clerk Juanita Johnson said. Baker will face incumbent Mayor Daisy Pray. Pray qualified on Aug. 29.
Johnson said Post 1 Council Member Patricia Green is the only council member running unopposed. Green qualified on Aug. 29.
Post 2 Council Member Charlie Anderson will face opponent Carrie L. Anderson, no relation. Both qualified on Sept. 1.
With Baker’s Post 3 council seat up for grabs, four candidates qualified to run: Sarah B. Hayes, Lillie Kelly, Mazie Fabian and Patrick Cochran. Hayes qualified on Aug. 29 and the others qualified on Sept. 2.
Incumbent Post 4 Council Member Luciria L. Lovette will face newcomers Patricia Palmer and Tommy D. McCaskill, according to Johnson.
Walthourville resident Jane Chapman qualified to run on Aug. 30 against incumbent Post 5 Council Member James E. Hendry. Hendry qualified on Sept. 1.
Riceboro city clerk Malinda McIver said only one new candidate is running for city council — Amelia Smith. Incumbent Council Members John Young, David Miller, Tommy M. Williams Sr. and Christopher Stacy are running again. McIver explained the four highest vote-getters of the five candidates will be elected on Nov. 8. Riceboro Mayor Bill Austin is running unopposed, she said.