Following Hinesville’s lead, Walthourville candidates held a forum Sunday at Johnny Frasier Park for voters to meet the candidates. Most of the candidates said they have problems with the city’s water system as well as concerns about city finances, and that it’s time to bring brick-and-mortar businesses to Walthourville.
Several candidates were absent, including incumbent Mayor Larry Baker; Post 1 Councilman James Hendry; Post 2 Councilman Charlie Anderson, Jr.; and former Mayor Daisy Pray, who is running for Council Post 2. Council Post 3 challenger Alan Stewart, a pastor, was not present for the Sunday afternoon event.
Liberty County County Commission Chairman Donald Lovette told the audience, “This is a time when we need great service. Just so you know, when it comes to being a city councilperson, not only do you serve here but what you do serves to the betterment of all Liberty County. So my job is to make it easier for people to serve better by us all working together. So what you bring to the table for Walthourville, that also gets put on the table for all of Liberty County, so just keep that in mind….So everybody run, run your best race, keep it clean, offer what you have to the people, and then the people bring their choices. And after that’s done, accept the will of the people.”
Candidates for mayor and the five council posts addressed the crowd.
Here’s a look at Walthourville’s candidates for office and some portions of their speeches.
Charlie L. Anderson
Current Post 2 Councilman Charlie L. Anderson, 81, is seeking the mayor’s office. He is retired and has lived in Liberty County for 60 years, 50 of those in the district. Anderson did not take part in Sunday’s candidate forum. He can be reached at (912) 492-0218 or (912) 368-7305.
Larry D. Baker (I)
Incumbent Mayor Larry D. Baker, 56, is running for reelection. He listed an Allenhurst address in his qualification packet. He is employed by ESG Public Works and has lived in Liberty County and the district for 55 years. His cell is (912) 318-6910 or you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or BikerLarry48@yahoo.com. According to his Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report (CCDR) filed September 20, Baker paid $1500 of his own money for campaign signs and cards.
Sarah B. Hayes
Hayes, 67, Walthourville’s mayor pro tem and the current councilwoman for Post 5, is running for mayor. She is retired. She listed a Hinesville address that falls within the Walthourville tax district on her qualifying papers, and has lived in Liberty County and the district for 28 years. Her e-mail address is email@example.com and her city e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Her phone number is (912) 492-5165. According to her September 27 CCDR, she reported that she had taken in $0 in contributions and spent $860 on unspecified expenses.
Hayes said, “There’s nothing wrong with the mayor we have. I’m not gonna backbite anybody. But I think that we need to take Walthourville in a different direction. I came out simply to state the facts. We have a good council. We have a good working group. But we need something different. Walthourville has been the same for years, and we can’t continue being like this.” Pointing to growth in nearby cities, she acknowledged, “Yes, we’re getting new homes. Yes, we’re getting the roads patched. Yes we are. Yes, we have home-based businesses. But it’s time to have brick and mortar businesses. And we can’t bring in brick and mortar businesses without making sure our infrastructure is straight.” She added, “There’s nothing, I believe, that the mayor and council should be doing that the citizens should not be apprised of. You need to know what we’re doing, especially when it has to do with money.” Specifically, she noted the city’s problems with foul-smelling water had improved after the city installed a new aerator.
Paulette D. Jamison
Paulette D. Jamison, 47, is unemployed, according to her candidate filing. She listed an Allenhurst address on her candidate filing papers. Jamison’s e-mail address is email@example.com and her phone number is (803) 707-9951. Her CCDR filed September 22 listed $0 in contributions and expenditures. In 2018, Jamison led a recall petition drive against Mayor Daisy S. Pray. The city found 33 of the 150 signatures invalid.
Following incumbent Hayes on the platform, Jamison said the city is in “some of its darkest moments. Please, don’t be fooled by any of these candidates. We have to stop the recycling of our city’s leadership and vote for real change.”
Such leaders, Jamison said, believe that “we work for you, the citizens,” that “there should be more businesses that give us a hometown feel for hometown people,” that “community policing is important” and that “our senior citizens deserve security and well checks, not just in time of hurricane seasons.
“Leaders who believe that they should be educated and also educate others. Leaders who believe in high standards, accountability, and transparency. Leaders who believe that a mayor and city council should be a cohesive unit working together, not on personal hidden agendas. Leaders who believe that if a citizen has a genuine care, or concern, or complaints, that it will be followed up in a timely manner…. Leaders who believe that our children should not have to be driven all the way on the other side of Hinesville for a recreational department.”
Mitchell Boston, 41, listed an Allenhurst address on his qualifying papers. He’s lived in Liberty County for 16 years, seven of those in the district. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and his phone number is (912) 977-6841.
Boston said, “I’ve watched this entire county grow exponentially. Now, I want to be a part of that continued growth and change because it’s coming…. I’ve never ran for office before. But I have a vision. And I want to see Walthourville continue to innovate. … I believe that a vote for me is a vote for a deep commitment to this community.” He added that he has served on several committees for housing, youth, and the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing. “And I say that because of the Board of Education, I do work for them. But that’s neither here nor there. But I do a lot of work in the city. And I want to continue to do that in an official capacity. I’m not constrained by the past. In fact, I’ve used that as an advantage. I have a vision that includes both inclusivity. I want to collaborate with some of our other elected officials from other municipalities and cities, because as a county, we all need to work together…. I just want to be a part of that change, the same change that all of our mayoral candidates have been talking about.”
James Hendry (I)
Incumbent District 1 Councilman James Hendry, 74, is running for reelection. He is retired and has lived in the district his entire life. His personal e-mail address is James.F.Hendry@gmail.com and his city e-mail address is email@example.com. Hendry declared $0 in contributions and expenditures on his Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report filed September 20. In 2014, Hendry was arrested and charged with selling liquor without a license.
Daisy S. Pray
Daisy S. Pray, 71, who in 2018 as mayor was the subject of a failed recall petition drive by current mayoral candidate Paulette D. Jamison and others, is now running for the District 2 council seat. She has lived in Liberty County and the district her entire life. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and her phone number is (912) 368-7057. Pray’s September 1 Personal Financial Disclosure contained no information, and her September 22 CCDR listed $0 in campaign contributions and expenditures. While mayor, she was sued by former Walthourville Police Chief Bernard Quarterman, who said Pray had retaliated against him for investigating the city’s finances as well as actions by the former city clerk. Quarterman lost the suit but was cleared by Georgia POST of claims he had not done his job.
Patrick Underwood, 44, says he retired after more than a decade with Publix and says he’s “still working.” Underwood listed an Allenhurst address on his candidate filing. His e-mail is email@example.com, and he says he’s active on social media. Underwood’s phone number is (912) 321-8272. According to Underwood’s October 3 CCDR, he contributed $264 and $131.19 to his own campaign, spent $415, and has $0 on hand.
“I went to Liberty County High. I graduated in ’98. I’ve been here since ’88. When I graduated from Liberty County, I knew that I wasn’t college material, so I went straight to the workforce. I worked for Publix for 22 years. …I’ve been volunteering and doing public service. He says he volunteers for “United Way, Manna House, whatever you want…I mean, I’m a public servant 24 hours.” He added, “Someone talked about a community center. That was one of the things we need to watch out for. We need a community center bad… When it comes to money, we can figure out how to put it in here… I’ve been hearing their concerns over the years putting a sidewalk on. Oh, by the way, I don’t promise anything. I just hear what they had to say to me and I put it in here.”
Bridgette Kelly (I)
Incumbent Councilwoman Bridgette Kelly, 43, is running for reelection to Post 3. Her personal e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and her city e-mail is email@example.com. Her phone number is (912) 610-9223. Kelly listed $0 in campaign donations and contributions on her September 26 CCDR.
“I grew up, I left came back, so I am one of those people who loves their community and wants to continue to do for their community,” Kelly said, “Walthourville is small but we have potential. So we want to utilize the potential that we have, like Miss Mack said, in training I am always talking about Walthourville.
Kelly said she is “am fighting for Walthourville behind the scenes. Roads, community involvement with our kids, all of the above. Like she said, they get tired of me at training. She tells me ‘Stop talking,’ I get that all the time. ‘Stop talking.’ The trainers, ‘Stop talking.’ But I’m asking questions to bring back to the city so we can put our training — your dollars, because you guys send us to training — put your knowledge to work on the information that I get from training, I bring back, want to utilize it. Again, we are a small city with big potential, I want to utilize it. I want to bring things for our elderly, our youth, the middle aged — me — I want something to do in Walthourville, not have to go to Hinesville for every single thing.”
Alan Stewart, 43, is pastor and CEO of Victory Independent Baptist Church of Allenhurst. He listed an Allenhurst address on his candidate qualifying forms. He has lived in the district and county for six years. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. His cell phone number is (681) 238-3364. Stewart’s September 22 CCDR listed $130 in in-kind contributions, $150 in cash, and $0 on hand. Stewart listed a $100 contribution from the Liberty County Republican Party, a $50 contribution from his own funds for signs, as well as expenditures for $280 and a $130 balance for campaign signs.
Luciria Luckey Lovette (I)
Incumbent Post 4 Councilwoman Luciria Luckey Lovette, 65, is running unopposed for reelection to that seat. She is retired. Lovette lists an Allenhurst address, which falls in the Walthourville tax district, on her qualifying paperwork. Her email is email@example.com. Lovette has been on the City Council for more than two decades and has served on the Georgia Municipal Association’s board of directors. Lovette listed $0 in contributions on her September 26 CCDR.
Lovette gave a brief history of the city before the other candidates spoke. She explained that Walthourville’s first mayor, Lyndol Anderson, was appointed by then-Gov. Jimmy Carter, and that Mayor Carrie Kent Brown was the first African-American woman to be elected mayor of any city in Georgia. Walthourville was the first government in the United States to be run entirely by women.
“I stand on the shoulders of [former Mayor] Carrie Kent (Georgia’s first Aftrican-American woman elected mayor),” Lovette said. “I am the first African American female to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Liberty County, Georgia…. And that’s why I’m seeking reelection to Post Number 4 in Walthourville. And if I’m not doing anything right, you can give me a call: (912) 271-1966. And if I can’t help you, I can put you in the right direction of someone who can help you.”
Robert “Bob” Dodd
Robert “Bob” Dodd, 52, is director of Liberty County’s Emergency Management Agency. He has lived in Liberty County and District 5 for eight years. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and his phone number is (337) 401-8494.
Dodd told the crowd he and his wife, Sally Dodd, retired from the United States Army after 25 years. “Folks, our city has challenges and opportunities.” he said. “He said learned early that solutions matter. “…So the solution to our challenges and opportunities is leadership. Our city now more than ever needs leaders, not more managers, not more consultants. And that’s why I’m running for city council. As a former first sergeant in the United States, Army leader, leadership is not complicated. You lead, you follow, or get out of the way. In my experience, leaders are not afraid to ask why. Leaders, we solve problems. Leaders, we lead by example. Leaders, we know when to listen, and when to follow. Leaders, we know when to work well with others to accomplish the goals. Leaders, we are not afraid to say ‘I don’t know. But let me find out and I will get back with you.”
“During this campaign, I was told not to make any promises. Whatever you do, don’t make any promises. Well, some of you may know, I don’t always follow conventional wisdom. Today, I’m going to promise you this. If I’m fortunate enough to win this election, I will be myself. I will be that problem solver. I will be that critical thinker who will ask the questions to solve today’s problem for a brighter future. And that’s my promise to you….Friends neighbors, Team Dodd is assembling, we really we are excited, and we are reporting for duty.”
Patricia Green, 75, is retired. Her e-mail is email@example.com and her phone number is (912) 610-4928. She reported $0 in campaign contributions and expenditures on her September 22 Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report.