The city of Hinesville is drawing closer to its upcoming municipal election set for Nov. 8.
Qualifying for the mayor and council seats will begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 29, and end at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2, at the Hinesville city clerk’s office in the new city hall at 115 MLK Jr. Drive. Early voting will be at the Liberty County Voter Registration Office at 204 Memorial Drive in Hinesville.
To run for mayor, a candidate must be a resident of Hinesville for at least 12 months before Election Day. To run for city council, a candidate must be a resident of the district in which he or she is running for at least 12 months before the election. The qualifying fee is $450 for mayor and $225 for a city council seat. The Hinesville mayor may only serve two terms; city council members do not have term limits.
Hinesville’s current mayor and city council members all have stated they plan to run for re-election.
Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas is serving his first term and will run for a second.
Thomas said he wants to help the city’s growth pattern continue in his second term. He said government should lead the private sector by example. The city can help provide jobs through its SPLOST-funded capital improvement projects and grant-funded road improvements without putting additional burden on taxpayers, the mayor said. Thomas added that the city also must do all it can to encourage businesses to grow and create jobs.
Hinesville Mayor Pro Tem (District 1) Charles Frasier has served on the council for nearly 24 years.
“Absolutely, I do plan to run again,” Frasier said in a phone interview Monday.
Even with the recent inauguration of the new city hall, the council still has much work ahead, he said. Traffic flow is a problem that needs to be resolved, Frasier said.
“If we don’t, 10 years down the road we’ll wish we had and it then it will be too late,” he said.
Frasier also said the council should consider planning for a civic center once the economy improves.
“We’re in trying times now,” he said. “If we can figure out a way (to fund it), through grants or whatever, we should take a look at it.”
The newest councilman, Jason Floyd, was elected in a special election in September to fill the District 2 seat left vacant by Bobby Ryon, who stepped down last year to run for sheriff. Floyd said he plans to qualify Aug. 29, the first day of the qualifying period.
“I try to remain fiscally conservative and I want to make sure our taxpayers’ money is going toward worthwhile projects,” he said.
District 3 Council Member David Anderson is in his third term and had said in February that he would run again. Anderson, a retired Army sergeant major, is chairman of the Hinesville Military Affairs Committee and the Coastal Regional Commission/Area Agency on Aging.
District 4 Council Member Keith Jenkins is completing his first term and said he “absolutely” will run for a second. Jenkins is a Liberty County Sheriff’s deputy and in-house training instructor. He was promoted to the rank of captain in late June.
District 5 Council Member Ken Shaw is serving his third term and formerly announced his candidacy for a fourth term ahead of the qualifying period during breakfast Wednesday with supporters at Poole’s Deli. He said he wanted to “get a jump” on campaigning.
“I’m running to continue several city projects like road improvements, the Frank Cochran extension, Bryant Commons and the paving of streets that need resurfacing,” Shaw said.
He said he believes he has done “a decent job” as a city council member.
“I know I haven’t pleased everybody, but I’ve tried to do my best for the city and for the 5th district,” he said.