Monday, June 8, 2009

South Georgia Mayor jumps into the race for Governor.

From Valdosta Daily-Times:

RAY CITY — Ray City Mayor Carl Camon announced his candidacy Thursday for Georgia’s governor.

The 40-year-old Camon traveled to Atlanta on a chartered bus to announce he would be a Democratic candidate for governor in the 2010 election.

In announcing his candidacy, he read a five-page speech he wrote in the early morning hours of Dec. 18, the day Camon knew he would run for governor.

In an interview prior to Thursday’s announcement, Camon told The Valdosta Daily Times that he awoke at about 2:30 a.m. on that December night. He had not given serious thought of running for governor prior to that time. He rose from bed and wrote a speech announcing his candidacy for governor. He’s been preparing to make that announcement public for the past six months.

“There’s something that’s been lacking from the state for a long time,” Camon said. “That’s the voice of the people.”

Going from mayor of a small town with an approximate population of less than 800 people to being Georgia’s governor is a large leap. Camon knows this, but he also believes it gives him an advantage in returning the state to the people.

As Ray City’s mayor of a dozen years and a councilman for three prior years, he is accustomed to dealing with people, face to face, on a daily basis.

“You hear what people have to say, what they want, every day,” Camon said, comparing being mayor of a small town with politicians with more name recognition from larger cities. “In a small town, you can’t hide behind skyscrapers or get lost in a big city. You have to answer to the people.”

Camon can point to several visible accomplishments as Ray City’s mayor, which he says have helped the people of this Berrien County town. Under his leadership, Ray City built a new city hall and developed the water and sewage storage facility. Ninety-eight percent of the town’s roads are paved. The town has won $3 million in grant funding. The town has improved its infrastructure.

The police force has grown. Sidewalks were added. The town renovated the water tower. Parks and recreation facilities have been developed.

Camon points to lobbying for a Dollar General store as a success. The company did not want to locate in Ray City, Camon said, but he kept pushing them, sending traffic counts and other studies. Dollar General located in Ray City, which helped the town’s economy and its people. Ray City residents don’t have to drive to another town to get something, he said; they can stop by the Dollar General, which is within walking distance for many residents. This, he says, is an example of how a person can lead by responding to what people need.

As Ray City’s mayor, Camon has also made contacts throughout the state, serving on past governor committees, and being an active committee chairperson in the Georgia Municipal Association.

He plans a grassroots campaign under the theme “Bringing Hope to All of Georgia.”

Camon is a proponent for giving educators the authority they need to run their classrooms. He would improve the quality of law-enforcement training, and would work to ensure that police “aren’t outgunned by criminals.” He supports the concept of high-speed rails improving transportation in Georgia.

Though running as a Democrat, he believes the state would be better served if its leaders forgot what’s best for their respective parties and remembered what’s best for the state. He would seek unity in the political parties, as well as end the concept of “two Georgias” — one based around Atlanta; the other, everything south of Macon — and seek a united Georgia. Camon is a veteran of the United States Airforce & Airforce Reserves, serving 10 years. His website is

Camon, although is unknown statewide will have to be taken seriously because he can appeal to African-American voters & all of South Georgia. Coming from a small town, he will have some appeal no doubt.

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