Augusta, GA -
Candidates vying for several seats in Augusta-Richmond County found themselves at Paine College just four days after the shooting and eleven days ahead of the primary election.Candidates for State Senate, Mayor and various Commission seats got together for a unique forum.Politics on the Rocks, sponsored by the Augusta Young Urban Professionals, offered beer, wine and food along with people talking about why they want to lead this city.
“Sometimes we sit in the forums, send our questions to the moderator and it may not get answered, it may get answered.Well, tonight that opportunity is available.You can walk straight up to your candidate and ask them what you want to ask them,” said Jordan Johnson, a member of the Augusta Young Urban Professionals.
While the job will be serious, political candidates came to a casual setting to win votes.The event kicked off with the Augusta-Richmond County Commission District 2 office.Dennis Williams said he hopes to focus on small businesses development.
“Making sure they received the proper training and instructions that would allow them the opportunity to be in the right position to accept government contracts from our local government,” said Williams.
After candidates wrapped up each office, they greeted guests as visual campaigning took place in a nearby room. Commission District 4 candidate Melvin Ivey pitched his idea for a water park at Diamond Lakes.
“Revenue will come in from all around the CSRA, not just here in Augusta, but all around the CSRA and it will build our tax base,” Ivey said.
Gwen Watts, who is running for the same office, said she wants to, “Assist with the disadvantaged business enterprise here in Augusta to help it to be more friendly to minorities and women in business.”
Commission District 4 candidates shared how they would use their experience to build a better Augusta.
Ben Hasan told the group he has been to more than 80 percent of the meetings for the position he hopes to hold.
“Building a model community through trust.Building a model community through trust.That trust starts with the commission and the mayor.”
Bob Finnegan, who worked for the US Navy for 22 years, said, “It’s not just the Cyber Command coming, it’s what follows because there will be other organizations, other businesses that come to support them that will bring jobs.We need to have the infrastructure ready for them when they get here.”
Pastor Angela C. Harden, who is also a candidate for District 6 said she too is ready for the job.
“The concept that God has given me is the POND concept, gaining access to the POND. P-O-N-D.Politically Opening New Doors.”
The candidates for State Senate and Mayor also spoke at the event.
Johnson said all candidates were invited to speak.