Newcomer Dexter Newby is challenging incumbent Hinesville City Council Member Keith Jenkins for the District 4 seat. The Courier asked candidates what issues were most important to them and why. Here are their answers.
Newby, 46, officially launched his candidacy for District 4 City Council on Aug. 19. Newby is a retired Army veteran who has lived within District 4 for 17 years. He said he decided to run for city council because he believes that “the district was not getting the consideration and engagement that other areas were getting.”
“I have talked with many of District 4’s residents from business owners to retirees about the problems we have observed over the years,” Newby said. “The majority of our residents are uninformed. They rely on other sources to find out what is happening or why hasn’t certain things happened within our community; this should not be the case. There is a lack of communication as well as transparency here, and I believe this is not only detrimental to District 4 but also to the city of Hinesville. The residents within our community are not just occupying space; they are taxpayers and stakeholders in Hinesville. Our elected representative work for us and should listen to our concerns, as well as keep all of their constituents informed and not just a selected few. Many of our residents feel as if their interests are unsupported and voices are not head. If we genuinely want to make the city of Hinesville the city where people want to work, live, and play, this has to change.”
Newby said he believes in and will focus on the economic development of the city as well as his district. “We have to be able to accommodate our growing and diverse communities. Each day that a new family or business decides to make our city their home allows us to do just that,” he said.
Regarding small business, Newby said, “The city’s representatives should feel privileged that a small business owner chose Hinesville to start and build their dream. As elected officials, we should do what is rightfully in our power to aid them with that. Small businesses are the sustainment to our community and livelihoods, and as a small business owner myself, I support them.”
He added that the city needs to attract more industry and small manufacturing jobs “that will provide our citizens with a livable wage.”
“Too many residents are having to drive outside our city to get higher-paying jobs,” Newby said. “I am committed to working with the powers that be to assist in strengthening this.”
Newby wants to offer families more recreational options.
“In District 4, we have no recreational areas to include parks,” he said. “District 4 has grown tremendously, and our families need an accessible, safe place within it so that our children and grandchildren can run around, interact, and play safely.”
Newby earned a Master’s degree in Human Service and is manager and substance counselor for Wayne County Substance Abuse Outpatient Program as well as the liaison for the Wayne County Drug Court. He serves on the Liberty County Homeless Coalition Board of Directors, the Shane’s Crib Women’s Substance Abuse Residential Program Board of Directors and the Lyman Hall Elementary School Governance Board. He also owns and serve as the CEO of “Friends of Andy” which is a substance abuse program within Liberty County.
Jenkins told the Courier that his his top issues are: improving infrastructure and roads; establishing programs that will engage youth in social skills, education and business opportunities; help provide affordable housing; attract more businesses for higher paying jobs; complete the park on Airport Road; combat homelessness; provide recreation such as a family entertainment center; and offer better opportunities for veterans.
He added he would like to ensure that the city of Hinesville “is a place where people would like to move from other states,” and “ensure better career opportunities for our youth of tomorrow.”
Jenkins said he is the best candidate for District 4 because he has 12 years of experience and is the senior council member on the board. “I have the highest certification for training in municipal government,” he said.
Jenkins said he chose to run again to, “finish accomplishing the issues that are most important to the community.”
He intends to, “Just keep working to improve the city of Hinesville. Everyone is working together to make the city of Hinesville the best city in Georgia,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins has lived in Hinesville for 34 years. He is a deputy with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.
He teaches safety classes to seniors and youth groups. As part of his public service he has passed out food baskets during Thanksgiving and given flowers on Mother’s Day to nursing home residents.
He added that he established a “Youth Network Program.”
“If a youth is given probation they are assigned to the Youth Network Program to help with (their) rehabilitation,” Jenkins explained.
The last day residents can register to vote in the city elections is Oct. 7. Early voting will be held from Oct. 15-Nov. 1. Election Day is Nov. 5.
The Liberty County NAACP plans to host two candidate forums in October. A forum for Riceboro city council and mayoral candidates will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, at the Riceboro Youth Center,
5649 South Coastal Highway in Riceboro. A candidate forum for city races in Hinesville, Walthourville and Allenhurst will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center.
Candidates can call 706-876-0156, ext. 1023 or email email@example.com to receive profile questions, so they may be profiled in an upcoming issue of the Courier prior to the election.