With the 2018 municipal elections set for May 22nd, only eleven months away, speculations regarding who will run and for what office continue to circulate throughout the community.
With the mayoral seat wide-open names that have surfaced are Councilors Skip Henderson, Glenn Davis, Bruce Huff and Jerry “Pops” Barnes. Others include State Representative Calvin Smyre, State Senator Ed Harbison and former State Representative Jed Harris.
Two names can now be crossed off the list. Jed Harris announced last month he would definitely not be a candidate for the mayoral seat. Likewise supporters close to State Representative Calvin Smyre say although he is humbled to be considered, due to his current state and national commitments he feels he would be derelict in his duty to not be able to offer the community he loves what it deserves, his full and utmost attention.
With that said, unless Senator Ed Harbison is ready to “come back home” to serve, it is time for us to place our support behind some of the young people who have shown a willingness for public service.
For the record it’s time that we stop the excuses of; “they’re not old enough”; “they haven’t paid their dues” or “there not ready yet”. How old does one have to be if they want to serve? How much dues does one have to pay to satisfy you? Who are you to say when someone is ready? We tend to forget that we have a State Representative who started at the tender age of twenty-seven. Calvin Smyre has been doing a pretty good job of serving this community for over 40 years. So it’s time to stop playing games and holding our young people down.
Here is a list of individuals we would be more than comfortable supporting if they chose to run for office. They are educated, articulate and intelligent young professionals who have accepted the responsibility toward being productive members of our community as they serve on various boards and committees in Columbus.
Geniece Davis Granville, Crystal Pendleton Shahid and Katonga Wright are three young professionals who grew up here, went away to college, returned home and are already making a positive impact on this community. We believe they would be ideal as candidates for city council. The fact that they each have children makes them our perfect choice for the Muscogee County School Board as well if they decided to run. The at-large seat would be the perfect seat to run for.
Attorney Teddy Reese, who lost his bid for city councilor at-large to the 20-year veteran councilor Skip Henderson, still managed to garner 42% of the vote as a newcomer to the political scene. If Henderson decides to run for mayor it would leave two at-large seats up for grabs. We hope Reese decides to try again. Now that he has more name recognition we believe he can pull off a win.
We’ve been trying to convince Danita Gibson Lloyd to run for city council for sometime now. Also well-educated, articulate and possessing great communication skills, Danita has worked behind the scenes and been instrumental in providing consultation to many successful campaigns. It is time for her to step in “front of the camera”. This community would be well served by her.
Columbus born and reared, Dominick Perkins has been making a name for himself as political consultant. His company, Perkins & Associates has been an integral part of numerous local, statewide and national campaigns. He would rather be a “king maker” than the “king” but for one who knows and understands the intricacies of politics he would make a great city councilor.
Jimmy Watts, a local State Farm agent is an individual we have had on our radar for sometime. He’s not a household name but he, like the others, is educated, articulate, intelligent and a respected businessman in our community. A family man with a wife who is Hispanic, Watts, with his “Obamaesque” crossover appeal would be an ideal mayoral candidate.
During our last local election, more African Americans in Muscogee County went to the polls and voted than any other demographic. If we can duplicate that effort next May we have the opportunity to level the political playing field in Muscogee County.
For this to occur two things need to take place. If more than one African American wants to run for the same seat, they must be willing to come together, set aside their egos and decide which of them has the best chance to win.
If and when the slate has been set, we, as African Americans, must come together as one. We also, must set aside our differences for the sake of what’s best for our community. There is no secret that we will very rarely have a candidate that everyone loves however, to advance an agenda that addresses our concerns, we need to find our way to agree to disagree. Finally, once we do that, we must not abdicate our responsibility to go to the polls and vote for the candidate we have decided has our best interest at heart.