Growth A Fact For Next Grovetown, Harlem Leaders

Columbia County Chamber of Commerce President & CEO held Tuesday night's candidates forum.

Grovetown – The next leaders of two Columbia County cities will all face one fact: Growth.

As the population changes in Grovetown and Harlem, so does business, education and many other areas of people’s lives. So, you need to be informed as to who the best person might to oversee the change.

A lot of eyes are on the race for Grovetown mayor as former police chief Gary Jones works to unseat Mayor George James.

“People please get out and vote and show up at the polls,” Jones said stressing voter turnout.

Facing incumbent mayor George James on Election Day.
Facing incumbent mayor George James on Election Day.

 

Gary Jones is banking on the citizens of Grovetown wanting a change as he tries to beat the incumbent.  An incumbent who knew the change was coming.

“You kind of want the small community feel and we’re trying to maintain that and keep that,” James told News Channel 6 reporter Mike Miller in 2012.  “Some people would probably argue with you and say I don’t see that happening right now because of the growth and because of the traffic.”

Mayor James led the city through an explosive growth.  He tells me he wants to continue for a third term.

Mayor George James will face Gary Jones, former Grovetown police chief, on November 3.
Mayor George James will face Gary Jones, former Grovetown police chief, on November 3.

 

Columbia County Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Tammy Shepherd said the next leader needs to be ready to do the same.

Columbia County Chamber of Commerce President & CEO held Tuesday night's candidates forum.
Columbia County Chamber of Commerce President & CEO held Tuesday night’s candidates forum.

 

Shepherd said, “Grovetown has seen tremendous growth from 2000 to 2010.  They grew from about 5,000 residents to over 12,000 with the number of over 14,000 at this time. To have someone in a leadership role who will embrace that change and then also lead that change because there will be challenges.”

Jones tells me even though he was released from the City of Grovetown as it’s Public Safety Director, he’s not running for revenge.  He said he’s actually prepared for more people coming.

“That’s why I want to involve the public because the public can see things and have ideas that me as the mayor may not have or the city council might have,” James said.

Candidates vying for one of two Grovetown City Council seats are:

Eric Blair

Renee McDowell

David Payne

Dennis Trudeau

Candidates for one of two Harlem City Council seats are:

Jennifer Bennett

Joe Lokey

Greg Stokes

James Thomas, Jr.

The candidates forum, which is also sponsored by Columbia County News-Times, is the last of a series done by the chamber.  Election Day is November 3.

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