WARNER ROBINS — Two of the three Warner Robins City Council seats are being sought by seven people, all with different agendas.
Doug McDowell, running for Post 1, is powered by unfinished business. He lost a runoff to Councilman John Williams by eight votes in 2007.
Stepping down in 2008 meant, he thought at the time, that he wouldn’t get to see through the completion of the sports complex off Ga. 96, the city’s new animal shelter or G-RAMP, which was up-and-coming when he left office.
Nearly two years later, two of the three are still hot topics among the current board.
“I just think my experience, especially now, will benefit the city,” McDowell said. “Hopefully I can get in there and work for the citizens again.
Others, like candidate Linda Carnes, caught the political bug when Demon Valley Drive, near Warner Robins High School, was closed by city officials in July 2008 as a precaution for safety of the students at the high school and at Rumble Academy.
“I became involved in what was going on. It’s kind of like you get (politics) in your blood,” said Carnes, also running for the Post 1 seat being vacated by Terry Horton. “I just want to help the community and do my civic duty.”
She said she’s ready to push for a tougher dog ordinance, work on the revitalization of downtown and tackle senior issues.
Art Howard, who’s concerned with quality of life, code enforcement and the city’s hiring practices, said he was spurred by a tough love speech from his wife to “get off the couch” and make a difference.
Since then, he has immersed himself in local issues, including getting out to hear what residents think.
“I want to make contributions that make this city better,” Howard said.
Mike Daley said when he decided to retire in Warner Robins, he knew he would need more to occupy himself than relaxation and quality time with his grandchildren.
His off-and-on 46-year love affair with the city saw him become more and more concerned with the city’s issues, and how to tackle them. He plans to use the skills he learned in the Air Force to successfully multitask the city’s issues.
“The main reason I decided to retire here was to see my grandchildren grow up,” he said. “But I also wanted to come back and help the city.”
Efforts to reach the Rev. Jeffery Walker, the other candidate for Post 1, were unsuccessful.
TWO CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR POST 3
Fifty-year Warner Robins resident James L. “Paul” Shealy said his love for the city has pushed him, during the past three years, to get better acquainted with the inner workings of City Hall to prepare for a potential run for office.
“There’s some decisions that need to be made,” said Shealy, running for Post 3. “I think I can make the decisions the citizens want for the future of Warner Robins.”
Among his top concerns is the progress being made on the city’s new law enforcement center.
Officials recently said a grant obtained by the city several years ago may make building on Perkins Field impossible.
Shealy believes there are other options in close proximity to City Hall.
“We need all our city government to be fairly close to each other just for the convenience of it,” he said.
Dean Cowart, also running for Post 3, left City Hall in 2005 to focus on other parts of the city where he could leave his imprint.
But with so many unseasoned councilman with the impending retirements of Horton and Mayor John Havrilla, who helmed Post 3 before he became mayor, Cowart felt his experience was needed.
“I don’t want to see six new members and a new mayor get excited about a budget and general fund balance they think is more than what’s really there,” he said. “They need some stability and some experience to explain how that budget works, why it’s there and what we’re going to do with it.
“I just can’t let Warner Robins fall on its knees.”
To contact writer Marlon A. Walker, call 256-9685.