FORSYTH, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A total of eleven candidates are battling for five open seats on the Forsyth City Council. On Tuesday, the campaign season kicked off with a forum, as eight debated the issues and told the public why they are fit for the job at city hall.
Lee Roberts, Mike Dodd, Julius Stroud III, Alleta Mays, Dexter King, Mary Forde and Tonya Battle-Walker went face-to-face at the Kynette United Methodist Church. Rosemary Walker, Eric Wilson, Greg Goolsby and Jimmy Jones were not in attendance. The Forsyth Monroe County Task Force and the church hosted the event to introduce the group to the community before people head to the polls.
Tuesday's big talkers focused on the city's economy, road repairs and programs for the youth.
"We need to bring business to the area," Dodd told he crowd. The incumbent has served on council for 12 years and for him business is a big issue.
For Stroud, who served in the military, his focus was getting to know the entire community. "I am a leader," he said, "I want to be a 'servant leader.'"
Mays, a former city employee, called for change to the city's infrastructure. "We need cable!" she told the crowd.
Georgia Department of Corrections employee King wants to bring business to Monroe County as well, and focus on the youth.
"You don't want your kids to end up where I work," he said, "I see it every single day."
Mary Forde wants more for the young people in Forsyth too.
"I want to focus on the youth and the elderly," she said.
For Tonya Battle-Walker with Monroe County's Board of Education, recreation was key.
"We need something for our kids to do," Walker said.
There are currently five seats available this election in Forsyth. Three are open due to term limitations and the other two are apart of a special election. The special election on the ballot is for Desi Hansford and James Calloway's seats. In September, the two former council members pleaded guilty to bribery in federal court. Both men were charged with accepting money for city bids.