Some Grovetown residents took the opportunity to hear from the people vying to lead the city for the next four years at the Grovetown Merchants Association Stump Meeting on Monday.
Mayor-elect George James and unopposed city council candidate Rosa Lee Owens were joined at Liberty Park Community Center by incumbents David Daughtry and Dick Manion and newcomer Robert Newman, the three men vying to fill the two at-large city council seats in the city's Nov. 6 general election.
"I love Grovetown and I hope you do, too," said James, a lifelong Grovetown resident. "It has been Dennis Trudeau's train for 20 years and it has been a good ride. Now I'm asking you to get on my train."
James, who was elected to a four-year term on the city council 2005, also served from 1988 through 1991. He resigned from the council Aug. 27 and is the only candidate running to succeed Trudeau as mayor.
Rosa Lee Owens, also a lifelong Grovetown resident, is the unopposed candidate to fill James' unexpired city council term. As a founder of the Grovetown Heritage Festival and a member of the Grovetown Museum board, Owens said she believes in preserving Grovetown's history, while looking forward toward the city's "bright future."
"We're ready to move out of the lull of Grovetown and into tomorrow," Owens said.
David Daughtry, who has served nearly 17 years on the city council and is a longtime city resident, said he has seen a lot of changes in those years, but expects many more changes as the city implements its 20-year Comprehensive Plan approved in 2006.
"That plan is a wonderful plan and it took a lot of hard work to put together," Daughtry said.
The plan calls for changes in zoning ordinances including those regulating manufactured housing in the city. Those ordinances will take time to write and implement, Daughtry said.
Incumbent Dick Manion, who was elected to fill the unexpired term of Marjorie Adams in July 2006, said one of his goals is to make all city residents feel that they are a part of the city. He said currently a third of the population lives within the city's downtown area, while two-thirds live outside in many of the city's newly constructed subdivisions.
"They really don't feel like they are part of the city," the retired Army colonel said.
Robert Newman, who call-ed himself the new kid on the block, said he's ready to serve the city he's grown up in.
"I'm ready to do what's right for the citizens and what's right for the merchants," Newman said, adding he'd like to see well-managed growth as residents and businesses flock to the city of about 10,000 people.
Grovetown Merchants President Sonny McDowell challenged all present to spread the information from candidates at the stump meeting to their peers and to vote in the upcoming election.
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