Bainbridge City Council District B candidates weigh in ahead of election

Published 7:05 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2023

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With the passing of city councilman Phil Long earlier this year, it was determined that a special election was necessary to fill the seat for District B. With the election scheduled for next week, there are currently four contenders running in the race: Keenan Adams, Ashley Kinchen, Terry Thomas, and Jason Williams. Each candidate recently spoke to the Post-Searchlight about their ambitions and thoughts on the issues facing the city of Bainbridge.

When asked how long he had been considering running for city council, Adams stated that he first considered it after being appointed to the Bainbridge-Decatur County Planning Commission a couple of years ago. Kinchen recounted how his grandparents, mother and aunts all worked in public service, which inspired him to study policy and administration in college, to be able to one day serve his community. Thomas stated that he began to consider his run within the past two or three years. Williams remarked that he served in law enforcement for 15 years, after which he began volunteer work, and that hearing from people about their issues motivated him to run.

When asked what each of them hoped to achieve on the council, should they be elected, Adams stated that he hoped to continue the growth the city has recently experienced, as well as “providing fresh perspectives and ideas for the future.” He elaborated that he wanted Bainbridge to be an environment where economic, workforce, and leadership development/initiatives could flourish.

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Kinchen wanted to continue Bainbridge’s growth and revitalization, while also maintaining what makes the city unique. “My goal, if elected, will be to tap into every resource available to advance Bainbridge while also making sure that when we look back in a decade or two we still see the Bainbridge that we all grew up in and love.”

Thomas echoed similar sentiments, responding by saying he also hoped to continue Bainbridge’s growth. He also added that he hoped to deal with all the issues presented to the city council in “fairness across the board.”

Williams stated that he takes pride in listening to people’s needs and helping them resolve their problems. “I plan to maintain that connection with our community after I am elected and will promise to have an open door policy to hear from our residents,” he said.

Each candidate was also asked what they thought the key issues facing the city were, and how they felt the city should address them.

“The most pressing issue I feel that the city is facing right now is housing,” Adams said. He clarified that the city needed more housing to accommodate the expanding workforce. “The city has made a valiant effort with apartments that have been built recently, if elected I look forward to continuing that effort in helping with this issue.”

Kinchen was also concerned with housing, specifically housing availability, affordability, and the cost of home ownership. He touted his experience as a real estate appraiser, stating that planning was necessary so “that Bainbridge retains its small-town feel that we appreciate while meeting the needs of our growing community.” Affordable starter homes for the new workforce was a key part of said plan. He also stated infrastructure was another issue, citing his work on state infrastructure projects as an asset to city infrastructure projects.

Thomas responded that one issue neighborhoods and communities have been reporting is problems with speeding and other illegal activities, and that he would work on things such as budgeting issues (in the case of installing speeding deterrents like speed bumps), as well as increased police presence. Bringing more jobs to the city was also a key issue to him.

Williams stated that the biggest issues facing the city were crime, affordable housing and unemployment rates. “The city has to make decisions based on a case-by-case basis and work towards a solution that fits each problem while positively impacting all the citizens,” he said.

“I’ve seen this community go through tragedies such as hurricanes and the loss of loved ones, and I’ve also witnessed this community celebrating state championships and coming together through events,” Adams said in conclusion. “I believe this speaks volumes about our community, showcasing how we navigate both our highs and lows together and genuinely care for one another. This is one of the things I love most about Bainbridge.”

I am excited for the future of our City and pray that I am given the opportunity to serve the people of Bainbridge,” Kinchen said. “I commit to being independent and asking the necessary and important questions, I commit to working hard to always do what is best for Bainbridge as a whole, and to always keeping an open dialogue with my constituents on the issues that matter to them. I would truly appreciate your vote!”

Thomas closed by reflecting on his history with Bainbridge, saying, “I grew up here in Decatur County. Bainbridge itself has helped me become the man I am. My community has helped me, and I want to be a voice for that community.”

“I would hope all registered voters vote early or on election to make their voices heard and vote for Jason Williams,” Williams said. “I hope the residents of District B allow me to continue to serve as a community leader and serve not only as a voice for them, but for all the citizens of Bainbridge. Vote Jason Williams!”

Advanced voting began on October 16; this week is the last week of advanced voting. Election Day is next Tuesday, November 7. Voters must go to their appropriate precinct to vote, hours are from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.