Candidates address issues at luncheon

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 16, 2000

Staff Writer

Candidates for municipal elections in Brundidge, Goshen and Troy had their chance to tell the public why they are the best for the job.

During a political forum sponsored by the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, candidates were asked several questions ­ most of which were directed to the Troy mayoral candidates Jimmy Lunsford and George Balmer.

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Those questions took on everything from top priorities to growth of the municipalities.

The most heated campaign has been in the one for Troy’s mayor.

Balmer has run his campaign based on the things he believes the current mayor is not addressing. He has openly stated drugs are being flown into the local airport; statements Lunsford adamantly denies.

"I want to bring down the drug clientele in Troy," Balmer said during the Tuesday luncheon.

The former New York resident said he is "furious with the city commissioners (council members)" and is running to make changes in that leadership.

To those comments, Lunsford said: "I forgive you and I pray God forgives you for the lies your spreading."

Lunsford, who is seeking his fifth term as mayor, is proud of what the current council has accomplished.

"The city of Troy is growing," Lunsford said. "We will continue that for the next four years."

While Lunsford has worked to bring business and industry to the city, Balmer said those efforts are fruitless.

"To keep bringing people in means more and more crime," Balmer said.

In response to Balmer’s accusations of the city leaders not working to combat the drug problem, Lunsford said that is not true.

He said the city has also worked to beautify the downtown area, as well as supporting the arts by purchasing the old post office to be renovated for use as a fine arts center and working hand-in-hand with Troy State University.

Altrena Baxter and incumbent Sherrol Tatom are running for the District 1 seat on the Brundidge City Council.

"I can’t promise anything," Baxter said.

She said she will be available for her constituents and their problems and she’ll "take them to the council."

Baxter said the biggest issue, for her, is "to get our kids a better education, something to do and support them."

Tatom said it is his previous experience that makes him the better candidate.

"It took me the first four years to learn," said the 12-year veteran of the Brundidge City Council.

Now, he "knows how to get things done."

He also wants to work to bring new jobs into Brundidge and increase the city’s tax base.

Jaine Treadwell, who’s running for the District 3 seat in Brundidge, admits she’s "not a politician" and that’s not what she wants to be.

"Being on the Brundidge City Council has been a privilege," Treadwell said.

She has enjoyed serving in the community where she was raised and believes public service is a way to give back to the community.

"We’re not all called to greatness, but we are all called to serve," Treadwell said.

For her, the biggest issue is "selling Brundidge" and telling people "what a great place it is to live."

Treadwell’s opponent, Vernon Jackson, did not participate in the open forum.

Goshen mayoral candidate Jimmy Bryan said he’s running because he loves the community in which he lives and represent those who live there.

"I will do the best I can to represent the people," Bryan said.

Michael Sanders is running for a third term as Goshen’s mayor.

He began serving the community in 1980 as a councilman.

"The town has done a lot of growing," Sanders said, adding there are "things still to do."

One of those projects is building a town hall/community center.

Guy Bruce and Al Sanders are both seeking a seat on the five-member Goshen Town Council, which is elected at-large.

Bruce, who has lived in Goshen three years said he is "willing to serve" his community.

Sanders was raised in the small Pike County town and wants "to make it a better place to live."

All three agreed building a town hall is their top priority.

Two seats on the Troy City Council are opposed.

In District 1, incumbent José Henderson has opposition for political newcomer Charlie Dunn and Matthew Jordan.

Dunn said, if elected, he will represent those in the district the "best way" he can.

"I will always be available," Dunn said, adding his campaign has revealed the people in the district feel "neglected."

Jordan said he has also heard similar complaints while campaigning.

"I hear the children crying," Jordan said.

While he admits, Troy has grown a bit in the last four years, he said the city is also experiencing "growing pains.

"District 1 is the most run down district in Troy," Jordan said.

Henderson said the current council has worked hard for the city’s citizens.

"I want to continue the march to make Troy a great place to live," Henderson said.

Current District 5 council member Wanda Moultry has opposition from Lynda Maddox and Alex Neal.

Neal said he will "address the issues" as a member of the council and will work to decrease city taxes, have affordable utilities and develop a YMCA.

"Troy is my home," Neal said. "I’m dedicated to Troy’s growth."

Maddox said she is running to "mainly represent the children."

Moultry said the current council members have "shown, together, we can make a difference.

"There’s not much we can do without working together," Moultry said.

She described those now on the council as "links that have formed a chain and are pulling Troy in the right direction."

All opposed municipal candidates were invited to participate in the forum.