A native Augustan and an Augustan of two decades seeking the District 3 Augusta commission seat stressed the importance of economic development at a candidates forum Tuesday.
With the city’s election season in full swing and elections possible July 31, dozens of current and former elected officials and candidates attended the forum, held by Augusta-Richmond County Committee for Good Government, at Julian Smith BBQ Pit.
Candidate Mary Fair Davis, the former campaign manager for Mayor Deke Copenhaver, touted her deep local ties and service with the Family Y of Augusta, Irish-American Heritage Center and East Central Regional Library Board of Trustees.
“I’m running because I care about Augusta’s future,” she said. “We have the resources to be the envy of all other cities.”
Davis said there are “so many positive things going on in Augusta right now,” such as the recent Starbucks plant announcement and merger of ASU and GHSU.
Candidate Ed Enoch traced a commitment to service back to his decision to enlist in the military after high school. He served on a nuclear submarine for 10 years before completing college and Washington and Lee University’s law school, he said.
After moving to Augusta two decades ago, Enoch, who has represented the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority for a decade, said he’s found “economic development is what drives the tide,” although the development “has to be locally grown economic development.”
He also stressed the need for “public-private partnerships,” such as the coliseum authority’s decision to relinquish management of James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium to Global Spectrum, and the Richmond County drug court’s connection with the Society for Human Resources Management, which now helps graduates find better jobs.
Regardless of uncertainty about and a federal judge’s looming future decision about placement of Augusta commission and Richmond County school board district lines, there were very few District 3 residents or even potential residents who might vote for Davis or Enoch at the forum.
“They’re both good people,” commented David Fields, who lives in District 7. “If I could vote, I’d probably vote for Mary. We need somebody who could bring the commission together.”