WALTHOURVILLE — After nearly three years as Walthourville mayor, Larry Baker is hoping the voters return him to office for another term.
Baker officially announced his re-election campaign Saturday at Johnnie Frasier Park and said he wanted to run again because of his love for his hometown.
“I have a heart for the city,” he said, “and I want to see the City of Walthourville to grow to its potential. The City of Walthourville has a great potential here, and I want to see it move forward.”
Baker pointed to the improvements in the city’s police coverage and fire protection under his stewardship. When he took office, the city did not have officers on the streets 24/7 but does now, he said, and they have state-of-the-art equipment and new police vehicles.
The fire department also has undergone changes and now has two engines.
“The fire department was not 24 hours, but it’s now manned 24 hours a day,” Baker said. “I’m excited about it. I have seen the City of Walthourville move forward.”
Baker acknowledged the growth will have a cost, either through a tax or a fire fee to sustain the fire department.
Baker said residents tell him he is doing a good job and he is proud that city employees are happy and well compensated. He also noted that residents can drive along the city’s streets and not see trash alongside the roads.
Liberty County Chief Deputy Al Hagan recalled Baker persuading him to take over the police department on an interim basis.
“The thing I like about Mayor Baker is he knows his strengths and weaknesses,” Hagan said. “Every day, the mayor stopped by the police department. He wanted us to know he was there if we needed something.”
Hagan said Baker is a leader who makes sure the residents are being served.
“So often, we get leaders who are about themselves,” he said. “I know his heart is in the right place and his intentions are good. The mayor does things to make sure the citizens are taken care of.”
Hagan said Baker inherited a dilapidated water system and he found ways to improve the water system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He found the funding to make that happen,” Hagan said.
More residents may be coming to Walthourville. The city, which has 3,680 residents, according to the last census, expects to get a new 207-home subdivision.
“We have seen the city grow,” Baker said. “We have seen the improvements in the City of Walthourville.”