Augusta mayoral candidates meet for Q&A with voters

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September 25, 2006

Augusta will choose its next mayor in just six weeks, and the campaign is heating up as four candidates compete to win your vote.

All four met tonight for a forum at the Sand Hills Community Center.

The four men in the race are the incumbent, Deke Copenhaver, Ronnie few, William "Gil" Gilyard and Stephen Kendrick.

It was a fairly calm night after all the controversy in the last two weeks. There were no violent outbreaks or challenges.

But plenty of voters were on hand to ask some tough questions, eager to hear where the candidates stand on the issues important to them.

"I'm a very humble man, and I want to do what's right," said Few. "And what's right is vote for Ron Few for mayor, and I'll treat you right."

After a brief statement from each candidate on why he should be Augusta's next mayor, it was time for the people to speak out.

And one by one, the men who want to lead the city offered their solutions to the city's most pressing problems.

"I am promising you not just a new Augusta, but a bold new Augusta, with one shared vision: that you the people will be involved in this administration, and that we will get things done in Augusta Georgia," Gilyard said.

A big concern was crime, especially after Augusta's latest shooting on Sunday.

"We can stop and prevent the crime before we have to use law enforcement to correct the crime," said Kendrick. "We have to get involved as a community."

"The gangs are doing a better job recruiting the youth than the youth groups are," Copenhaver said. "The gangs are outgunning the cops, and so we have got to bring more revenue to help fight this issue."

"Throwing personnel at people is not the way to deter crime," said Few. "It's good programs that deter crimes in a city."

Candidate Gil Gilyard left early and was not on hand to give his solution to Augusta's crime problem.

One voter asked the four which candidate they would vote for if they couldn't vote for themselves. Three of them would only say they would exercise their right to vote, and would not say who would get their vote.

Mayor Copenhaver was the only one to answer directly. He stated he would vote for Steven Kendrick, stressing the importance of young leadership in Augusta politics.

In all, the candidates spent more than 90 minutes fielding questions from the audience. Only time will tell who gave the answers most voters want to hear.

Just two of the four candidates have websites.

For Gil Gilyard's website, click here.

For Steven Kendrick's website, click here.