Augusta’s sprint to May 24 elections continued Monday at a forum in the Laney-Walker community.
Augusta Commission member Bill Fennoy, who lives in and represents District 1, bragged of his first-term accomplishments, including passing a stormwater fee and sales tax referendum and getting raises for sheriff’s deputies, firefighters and jailers.
One opponent, Denice Traina, said her own Harrisburg neighborhood was “on the edge of a renaissance,” where she wanted to “step it up a notch” by serving on the commission. Their opponent, Michael Thurman, did not attend the forum.
District 1 spans an area from Augusta’s Country Club Hills neighborhood east through Harrisburg to downtown, east Augusta, Laney-Walker and Bethlehem.
The two candidates for the District 5 commission seat held by term-limited Bill Lockett also made their pitches, although they don’t represent the area around Dyess Park, where the forum was held.
The first, longtime Richmond County school board member Andrew Jefferson, spoke of the city’s assets, including the airport, railroads and river, where he said riverboats go from Augusta to Savannah, and the new Starbucks soluble products plant he said makes all the instant Starbucks coffee in the world.
His opponent, businessman Kelby Walker, said voters were “tired of establishment politics,” a knock at Jefferson’s path as an Augusta Technical College instructor to school board and now commission.
Walker added he was the “product of a second chance” after a brief turn in the court system with an ex-spouse.
Superior Court Judge Carl Brown, opposed for the first time in his judicial career, stressed “womb to the tomb” family values in keeping people out of the legal system and described getting his young grandson’s attention with a rolled up Sunday school book.
Ramone Lamkin, challenging Richmond County Marshal Steve Smith for the job, repeated his plans to get the office nationally accredited and raise its profile in the community.
Only about 30 people attended the forum. Another, by Augusta Young Democrats and the CSRA Democratic Women’s Council, will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Broadway Baptist Church.