District 6 election features variety of candidates

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Long considered a swing district that could shift the balance of power on the Augusta Commission, the District 6 commission race includes a newspaper publisher, a former Republican Party official, a pastor and radio personality, a former city employee and a past commission candidate.

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Bob Finnegan recently stepped down as chairman of the Richmond County Republican Party. The Fort Gor­don retiree is a longtime resident of Augusta’s Alleluia Community, a neighborhood of evangelical Catholics in District 6, and serves on the Augusta Personnel Board.

“I’ll be fairly available; I’m retired,” said Finnegan, pleased to obtain endorsements from The Au­gusta Chronicle and the Augusta-Richmond County Committee for Good Government.

The district’s concerns are basic, Finnegan said – safety, decent roads, sidewalks. Residents “want the grass cut, they want ditches cleaned out,” he said.

For candidate Ben Hasan, the election takes on a different dimension. A longtime attendee of commission meetings and a self-styled expert on local politics, Hasan’s newspaper, Urban Pro Weekly, recently featured a front-page photo of himself and a feature story about the legacy of racial polarization in Augusta since before consolidation. Elect Hasan, it concluded, to rekindle the old working relationships that existed between the all-Democrat south Augusta blacks and whites before consolidation divided the city along racial lines.

Hasan, whose campaign slogan is “Buil­ding a model community through trust,” did not return a Thurs­­day phone call.

Candidate Roger Garvin, the son of a city employee and a former Augusta and Columbia County government employee himself, said it struck him as inappropriate to see Hasan’s newspaper racks inside the Lump­kin Road tag office, but he doesn’t care.

“Nobody’s focusing on infrastructure; nobody’s focusing on the details of what matters,” said Garvin, who filed for bankruptcy in 2008 after losing his limousine business, one of several he started in his 20s.

For Garvin, a campaign party Tuesday at Skate Land of Augusta, where he and his wife work, will cap a campaign he said benefits from young voters. A group of Heph­zibah High School students voted early for him, he said, and all will celebrate election night.

“The kids are so exciting to be around,” he said. “They lift my spirits.”

Angela Harden, a pastor, businesswoman and host of the gospel radio program Praise Train Live, wants to “move Augusta forward with integrity and compassion” and rallied against violence at downtown’s River Glen apartment complex. She and Howard Harden filed for bankruptcy in 2001. She did not return a call seeking comment.

Tony Lewis, employed at Savannah River Site, ran for the District 6 seat in 2007 and lost to term-limited incumbent Joe Jackson.


NAME: Bob Finnegan

AGE: 64

BIRTHPLACE: Philadelphia

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, Southern Illinois University; associate degree, Georgia Military College

OCCUPATION: Retired Navy electronics technician chief petty officer; retired Fort Gordon senior telecommunications specialist

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Former chairman, Richmond County Republican Party; secretary, 12th Congressional District GOP; GOP state committee; member of Augusta Personnel Board; South Augusta Redevelopment Board; served on Human Relations Commission; founding member Rocky Creek Neighborhood Association

FAMILY: Married; nine children, 14 grandchildren

NAME: Roger Garvin

AGE: 37


EDUCATION: Completing associate degree in business administration in spring, Westwood College

OCCUPATION: College student; former Richmond County tree technician and limousine company owner, Evans Town Center Park supervisor


FAMILY: Married; one daughter

NAME: Angela Harden

AGE: 52


EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in biblical studies, Lahairoi Bible College; attending Troy State University

OCCUPATION: Pastor; volunteer chaplain, St. Joseph Hospice; radio personality, Praise Train Live; TV host, Bring it to the Table: Real Talk with Angela C. Harden


FAMILY: Three children, nine grandchildren

NAME: Ben Hasan

AGE: 60


EDUCATION: Lucy C. Laney High School

OCCUPATION: Publisher of Urban Pro Weekly

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Attending Augusta Commission meetings since 2006; host, Comcast Community Concerns; political commentator, Connect Live

FAMILY: Married; four children and 10 grandchildren

NAME: Tony Lewis

AGE: 52


EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, Paine College

OCCUPATION: Inspector for SRNS

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Ran for commission in 2007; worked on Joe Scott and Charles Walker campaigns

FAMILY: Married; three children, one grandchild

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specsta 05/16/14 - 02:34 am
The Man For The Job

If Ben Hasan has been attending Commission meetings since 2006, eight years worth, he certainly knows more about the inner workings of that chamber than any of the other candidates.

The fact that Hasan cares enough about Augusta to attend meetings, when he doesn't have to, says a lot about his character and priorities. There are sitting Commissioners who are absent from many meetings - and it's their job!

Every Augustan should take time to sit in on at least one meeting. It is quite the spectacle. Once you see how rude many of those Commissioners are to Augusta citizens who hope to have a chance to have their voice heard, you will realize that something is WRONG with this city.

Once you hear these grown men and women bickering like 5-year-old children on the playground, you will realize that something is WRONG. Once you see how inept several of those Commissioners are, you will know that something is WRONG.

Ben Hasan might be Augusta's last chance to come out of mediocrity. He certainly won't treat his constituents rudely or dismiss their concerns. He deserves a chance and Augusta deserves a change.

PrayN4U 05/19/14 - 05:03 pm

Come get real, Hasan had a hidden agenda for attending those meetings. His Newspaper. What better way to get information for his paper than to be where the action is. He said he is only running because he was switched to district 6. As long as he wasn't in district 6 he had no problem about the people problems.

PrayN4U 05/19/14 - 05:06 pm
Fairly available

I don't want a commissioner who is fairly available. I want one who will be available,period. If you represennt me and you don't have another job you should be more than fairly available.

PrayN4U 05/19/14 - 05:12 pm
political experience

If sitting in on commissioners meetings and community concerns is plitical experience for Ben Hasan the it should be for Angela Harden also. She go to commissioner meetings, she is a mentor in the juvinile justice system, community concerns, advocate for children rights, etc.

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