In a first public forum together Tuesday, the five candidates seeking to be Augusta’s next mayor sparred gently over job creation, pushed a transit agenda and touted the skills and experience they’d bring to the mayor’s seat.
Less compelling than the fact that the next consolidated Augusta-Richmond County mayor will be black, candidate Helen Blocker-Adams said in opening remarks, is the detail that the next mayor will “get right to work with your current mayor, your current commissioners” and enjoy seven months of on-the-job training before taking office. The election is May 20.
Throughout the forum, retired restaurateur Charles Cummings stayed true to his platform of upgrading Augusta Public Transit, calling it an issue critical to the city’s disabled, elderly and less fortunate.
Sen. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta, attending his first forum with the other candidates, said he would be “a mayor that you can be proud of,” one who uses all available legislation to replace lost manufacturing jobs, accelerate licensing and permitting for incoming business, develop housing in south Augusta and expanding a southside industrial park to create Georgia’s second inland port.
Augusta Commission member Alvin Mason touted job growth that has taken place during his two terms on the commission, adding that he “absolutely” knows “what I can do, and what I can’t do” as mayor, a position defined in the city charter.
“We can’t wait,” recited language arts instructor Lori Myles. “None of the accolades mean a thing, if you can’t walk the walk and talk the talk,” she said.
In a nod to her opponents, “to run on your past experience may not be the best thing to do,” she said.