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Ryon confident on council qualifications
Sheriff candidate interview: Bobby Ryon

In an interview with the Courier, District 5 candidate Bobby Ryon outlined his plan for District 5 if elected to the vacant council seat on March 19.

Ryon, a Liberty County native, has been in community and city leadership roles since around 1996, he said. Before that, however, Ryon graduated from Bradwell Institute, and attended Young Harris College for about two years, before transferring to Georgia Southern. After a brief stint at GSU in 1974, he took a break from college, and went to work.

“I went to work for a telephone company in 1976,” Ryon said. “I thought I would go back to school sometime, but I worked there for 34 years. It’s all kind of a blur from there.”

Some of the positions Ryon has held include: United Way board member for eight years, chairman for four; Liberty County Chamber of Commerce board member for 10 years; Liberty County Recreation Department board for 22 years as secretary and treasurer; and Diversity Health Center board member since inception, going on four years.

In regards to the city, Ryon said he served on the city’s False Alarm Review Board for 10 years; the Hinesville Housing Authority’s vice chairman for three years; Hinesville City Council for two years, from 2008-2010, and in 2012, worked as one of three project managers for CH2M Hill, the city’s public works contractor.

Ryon’s plan for council is to stay ahead of the growth and incoming growth within the city, he said.

“I believe that with my experience, I can lend a hand to growth control,” Ryon said. “I want us to be more customer friendly to the people that have business dealings with the city, whether that be at the water counter or the inspections department. I want us to treat every person the same. I’m not saying we don’t do that already, but we need a little more consistency, or we won’t get some of the businesses that want to come here for what we have to offer.”

Ryon knows a lot about the organization of the city, including the budgetary pieces—since he has worked budgets both as a former councilman and as a contractor. Ryon said his skillset is a good fit, and would help him help the city take the next step.

The biggest change relates to the city’s aging infrastructure, Ryon continued. It’s getting older, and he believes it will take some capital dollars down the road.

“I know that TSPLOST will be on the ballot this November,” he said. “We have to look hard at that, and be careful how we handle another TSPLOST, and keep the city budgets in check. We don’t want to put another one cent on people and not do something with what we already have. I think TSPLOST is a great thing, and it would help us with some of that infrastructure, and I think that’s one thing we’ll have to cover in the city in the next few years. We need to increase our exposure in the state and federal government and put our best foot forward to tell them what we need. We can get that help and not be totally dependent on local taxation and the tax base. We have to get those extra dollars from anywhere we can.”

All candidates will have a chance to present themselves at a District 5 candidate forum, hosted by the Liberty County NAACP 6 p.m. March 7 at the LaQuinta Inn and Suites, 1740 E. Oglethorpe Highway. For more information about the forum, call 912-408-2278.

Election Day for the special election is March 19 and early voting began Feb. 25, and goes until March 15. Residents can vote early at the Voters Registration Office in the Liberty County Historical Courthouse, 100 Main Street. The official polling place for the City of Hinesville elections is the Charles M. Shuman Recreation Center, 800 Tupelo Trail. Voting is open from 7 a.m. – 7p.m. March 19.

The Courier was unable to reach candidate Hannah Williams-Donegan for comment at the time of publication.

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