Augusta District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken announces re-election bid

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With a new Sand Bar Ferry Road mixed-income housing development as a backdrop, Augusta District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken announced plans Wednesday to seek election to a second term.

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Commissioner Matt Aitken kisses his wife Melissa after announcing his plan to run for a second term as District 1 commissioner.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Commissioner Matt Aitken kisses his wife Melissa after announcing his plan to run for a second term as District 1 commissioner.

His wife and daughter by his side, Aitken read a speech detailing the economic development taking place in District 1, which spans Harrisburg, downtown and east Augusta and the city’s medical and industrial districts.

Aitken cited the merger of Augusta State University with Georgia Health Sciences University, incoming Starbucks and Rockwood pigment plants, the sale of Fort Discovery and increasing private interest in the city’s Pension property, a new sales-tax funded gymnasium at Paine College, a “new urban grocery store” on 15th Street and even demolition of Laney Walker Supper Club to make way “for a new city building” among recent advances taking place in District 1.

“I love breathing life into our district,” Aitken said. “The concentration of leadership, creativity and infrastructure in District 1 should be lifted up and not restricted.”

Even the Legacy at Walton Oaks, the new mixed-income housing development where Aitken made the announcement, is a symbol of “transformation” taking place in east Augusta.

“Behind us stands a rich history of hope and darkness,” Aitken said of the complex, which stands on the former site of Underwood Homes, a housing project built in 1971 named for Augusta Housing Authority employee Cleo Underwood.

The first phase of the mixed-income development is full of senior citizens as construction continued on a nearby second phase. No Walton Oaks residents attended Aitken’s announcement.

Aitken, who is white and surprised many in 2009 when he won the majority-black District 1 post, drew a biracial crowd of supporters that included members of the Dream Angels female biker and mentoring group, jazz musician Karen Gordon and Larry Cone, pastor at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.

“I find Matt to be a man of integrity with a love for people in his heart, people of all colors,” Cone said. “We need more togetherness.”

Aitken supporter Heather DiCicco pointed to Walton Oaks as indicative of the commissioner’s vision and complimented his character.

“He really is a man of values. He has character. A lot of it is just trusting a person. Any politician can do anything behind closed doors when nobody’s looking,” DiCicco said.

Backed by Mayor Deke Copenhaver, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles and Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle, who attended the announcement, Aitken has at least two challengers for the post, including former Laney Walker Neighborhood Association President Stanley Hawes and Harrisburg activist and former mayoral candidate Lori Davis.

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Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 04/18/12 - 10:07 pm
4
2
The Cabal has spoken.

The Cabal has spoken.

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 04/18/12 - 10:30 pm
0
0
Marion has announced
Unpublished

Marion has announced too...someone help Augusta if he wins!!

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 04/19/12 - 12:25 pm
0
0
I wonder who his campaign

I wonder who his campaign donations will come from?

Bouganvillea
0
Points
Bouganvillea 04/19/12 - 12:52 pm
2
0
Techfan.. to answer your
Unpublished

Techfan.. to answer your question.. just look at who owns most of the property along Reynolds Street.. that's where a lot his donations will come from. And judging from this puff piece that looks like it was written by a staff member of his campaign, I'd say the publisher of this newspaper is likely a contributor. I mean look at this spread.. has any other candidate for the commission gotten this kind of press in The Chronicle? It's even got a video to boot. No surprise that Deke and Joe Bowles were there.. but am a bit surprised by Wayne Guilfoyle was there too. That should tell voters in South Augusta just where his loyalties lie.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 04/19/12 - 12:57 pm
1
2
Of the new developments
Unpublished

Of the new developments downtown, how many are Matt Aitken responsible for?

iLove
626
Points
iLove 04/19/12 - 01:02 pm
1
2
How many of the African
Unpublished

How many of the African American pastors with churches DT suppoorted Matt Aitken?

That should answer the question of how deos a majority African American district elect someone who has turned their back on the members of that community.

Bouganvillea
0
Points
Bouganvillea 04/19/12 - 01:07 pm
1
0
Ilove.. you hit the nail on
Unpublished

Ilove.. you hit the nail on the head! keep in mind the story from yesterday about the city having to repay money to HUD for money that was inappopriately given to some of these community organizations controlled by these "pastors". This is how a political machine operates.. reward your friends (church pastors) with Federal money who can deliver you votes in an election. And some of you say there is no such thing as The Cabal.... this right here folks is how they operate.

Bouganvillea
0
Points
Bouganvillea 04/19/12 - 02:54 pm
0
0
well one thing we know for
Unpublished

well one thing we know for sure, The Chronicle is in the tank for Aitken. I guess Billy wants another parking deck.

dichotomy
33576
Points
dichotomy 04/19/12 - 03:04 pm
2
1
What's Guilfoyle doing

What's Guilfoyle doing downtown supporting the cabal's candidate? I guess that's because he is one of them. He has certainly shown more interest and support for the cabal's downtown projects than he has for improving anything in his district. We sure made the wrong choice when we elected Guilfoyle.

Bouganvillea
0
Points
Bouganvillea 04/19/12 - 03:13 pm
0
0
Dichotomy.. I knew this all
Unpublished

Dichotomy.. I knew this all along. I dont think Guilfoyle could pick his nose without consulting with Joe Bowles first. He is nothing but Bowles' lapdog. This was obvious in the election but people were not paying attention. Look who donated heavily to his campaign. Bowles and Deke were two of them.. not so many who actually live on The Southside

Conservative Man
5577
Points
Conservative Man 04/19/12 - 03:16 pm
5
0
It will be a race between

It will be a race between Matt and Lori. Can't predict the outcome, but I will say the "good ole boys" will move heaven and hell to keep Davis off the commission. Get ready Ms. Davis for the mudslinging to begin...

Bouganvillea
0
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Bouganvillea 04/19/12 - 03:27 pm
0
0
Well if the voters are too
Unpublished

Well if the voters are too stupid to pay attention and know they are being had by The Cabal.. then they sort of get what they deserve.

Bouganvillea
0
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Bouganvillea 04/19/12 - 03:44 pm
0
0
I mean look at the people
Unpublished

I mean look at the people that the voters have put in that Dist 1 seat over the years.

countyman
20245
Points
countyman 04/19/12 - 03:44 pm
1
4
I think it will come down to

I think it will come down to who has the better vision for Harrisburg, Laney Walker, and East Augusta(specifically Sanbar Ferry & Eastbound).. The CBD, Medical District, and Olde Town are kind of separated from the other's...

The Riverwalk can be extended into East Augusta, and help create new residential and green space...

Local bookstores, coffee shops, restaurants, and bicycle lanes are needed along Broad street in Harrisburg...

Medical students and other young professionals should be walking/biking back and forth everyday from Laney Walker to the Medical District..

The Starbucks and Rockwood plants maybe included in District 1, but people refer to the area as South Augusta...

Bouganvillea
0
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Bouganvillea 04/19/12 - 04:07 pm
0
0
Yes countyman and we know
Unpublished

Yes countyman and we know Aitken's vision... More boondoggles for the well-connected few... and ignore the small business owners who have actually been the one's responsible for improving downtown. Aitken doesn't even know what's in a budget that he votes for... how can he have a "grand vision" for the inner city?

raul
5030
Points
raul 04/19/12 - 05:04 pm
0
0
Nice apartments in the

Nice apartments in the background. Must be nice to live in an apartment for 300 dollars a month when the guy next door pays 800 a month for the same apartment just because he/she makes more money. Never understood that.

constituent
164
Points
constituent 04/19/12 - 05:11 pm
0
0
Why will the people re-elect

Why will the people re-elect a convicted felon who served time in prison for selling drugs? Some bias employers want hire you for a job if ,in Richmond County,you is a convicted felon for drugs,but a convicted felon can hold public office,well "Charles Walker" you got my vote when you're release from prison for governor.

Bouganvillea
0
Points
Bouganvillea 04/19/12 - 05:37 pm
0
0
Constituent... the fact that
Unpublished

Constituent... the fact that Aitken served time in prison for selling drugs does not concern me. That was a long time ago. He served his time and has turned his life around. I believe in second chances. My problem with Aitken is his voting record on the commission and his lack of attention to his constituents. Now I will say that it is rather odd that he was able to get a full pardon.. they just don't usually hand those things out.

Bouganvillea
0
Points
Bouganvillea 04/19/12 - 06:32 pm
0
0
I find it odd that Ed
Unpublished

I find it odd that Ed Presnell is out as campaign manager. Is there something going on there? I was hearing from folks that if Aitken did run again Presnell would once again run his campaign.. but now he is out and Brooke Buxton is in. Odd

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 04/19/12 - 08:10 pm
0
0
Richmond County loves hiring
Unpublished

Richmond County loves hiring felons...even killers!

Lori Davis
944
Points
Lori Davis 04/19/12 - 09:11 pm
0
0
Welcome to the race, Matt.

Welcome to the race, Matt.

eb97
835
Points
eb97 04/20/12 - 06:16 pm
0
0
I found this commissioner to

I found this commissioner to be an embarrassment to all taxpayers. God help us if he is re-elected.

Little Lamb
46422
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Little Lamb 04/22/12 - 03:47 pm
0
0
From the article — “I love

From the article — “I love breathing life into our district,” Aitken said.

Well, Matt, how do you like sucking the life out of taxpayers in the other six districts?

Little Lamb
46422
Points
Little Lamb 04/22/12 - 03:50 pm
0
0
I guess the downtown power

I guess the downtown power brokers have fronted their candidate, but the thing is, they can't vote for him because none of them live down there.

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