Candidates Donnie Smith and Kenny Echols touted their credentials and view of the commission at a Tuesday meeting of Augusta-Richmond County Committee for Good Government.
Smith, a state trooper, said he had been contacted by Waverly, National Hills and Lake Olmstead neighborhood residents concerned about the new district map’s impact on their neighborhoods.
“I have been a warrior for their cause,” Smith said. “They’re trying to divide our community for political purposes.”
In both plans under consideration by the Georgia legislature for new commission and Richmond County Board of Education district lines, District 7 loses areas east of Eisenhower Drive and Berckmans Road to District 1.
Echols, a retired Georgia Health Sciences University administrator and former three-term Richmond County school board member, cited his experience working with hundreds of physicians and overseeing large budgets.
“I have a record that shows my conservative responsibility to the taxpayers,” Echols said, noting the recent controversy that arose when commissioners learned about a $836,288 change order requested for the new Trade, Exhibit and Event Center under construction.
“To have errors like that is personally inexcusable,” he said.
Both candidates touched on division among commissioners and in the city.
Echols said many commissioner arguments might be resolved before the public commission meetings; Smith spoke of ending the city’s racial divide.
“I love Augusta. I love everything about it, even the things that make us bad,” Smith said.