Former Liberty County NAACP President Liston Singletary III is running for mayor of Hinesville.
He is the third Hinesville resident to throw his hat in the ring for November’s election. Other candidates so far include Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier and former Mayor Allen Brown.
While announcing his candidacy in an interview Wednesday with the Courier, Singletary said he also wanted to take a moment to celebrate the importance of the week leading up to Easter, the observance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“I celebrate (this week) as a believer and as an ordained minister,” he said.
Then he turned to his reasons for running for mayor.
“After consultations with citizens — whether it be at Walmart or just in passing — (one of the most important issues) is fiscal responsibility,” Singletary said. “Another area of importance is economic development. I know we can do a better job … in seeking out industries and businesses to come to Hinesville and employ (our) citizens.”
Three more issues of great importance to Singletary are youth programs, public safety and quality of life.
He said children are vital to the growth and development of the city, explaining that he supports business owners and private investors who would come to Hinesville to build youth entertainment centers, such as a skating rink, laser tag facility, bowling alley, Boys & Girls Club or Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Singletary calls such investments “positive intervention programs.” He said these venues might seem unimportant to single adults, but families with children would appreciate not having to drive an hour to Savannah or Statesboro to enjoy such facilities. It would also allow them to spend their money here instead of somewhere else.
Most importantly, he said, today’s youth are under extreme social pressure. If the city provides viable outlets through which they can express themselves and channel their energies, the whole community will benefit, he said.
Echoing much of what was discussed in last week’s Liberty County NAACP-hosted Community Policing Awareness forum, Singletary called for a partnership between law enforcement and the community. Instead of an adversarial relationship, he calls for mutual respect. This partnership also would help improve the quality of life for members of the community.
“I think (the special purpose local option sales tax) is a very important referendum to put before the people,” he said. “(But) I think we can do a better job of getting the information out to the people about SPLOST. I think citizens will be less apprehensive about supporting it. When you talk about municipal-type projects, when you talk about roads … inviting the people to the table to determine how and where (SPLOST funds) are spent (is important). … I believe if we make a better effort to educate the public about what to expect … the vast majority of the people will support it.”
He suggested enlisting the support of local pastors in informing the public about SPLOST, not as part of their religious services but allowing for the use of their facilities for listening sessions that they can encourage their congregations to attend.
Singletary believes his education and experience together qualify him to be mayor, including 24 years in the Army and having served not only as leader of the local NAACP chapter but also as first vice president and chief executive leadership trainer for the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP. He also has served on the boards of directors for the Hinesville Housing Authority and the Savannah/Chatham Prison Re-entry Program.
He has a bachelor’s in political science from Armstrong State University, and he is working on a master’s in management and leadership at Webster University.
“If I’m elected, the citizens of Hinesville can expect a proactive city government that’s inclusive and open to input about improving the city,” Singletary said. “Hinesville is a truly remarkable community. … Our strength is in our diversity.”