Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thoughts on Last Night's Montezuma Debate

I attended last night's debate over in Montezuma held by the Macon County NAACP for the Mayoral & City Council seats & I came away impressed by the individuals on stage last night.

It was a smooth debate among the candidates for 3 seats currently held by Incumbents Charles Ivey, Norman Carter & a open seat left vacant by Jim Trask who decided against re-election on the Montezuma City Council & the two up for the mayoral seat currently held by Willie Larry

Newcomers Judy Gilmore, who moved back to Montezuma in 1999 after a long stint in Savannah (30 yrs), Judy Hasselkus, who moved here from Clearwater Florida in 2002 & is currently a member of the Macon County Chamber of Commerce, Beau Palmer, a opera singer who also moved back to Montezuma a coupe of years ago did fairly well in last night's debate

Incumbents Charles Ivey & Norman Carter didn't miss a beat as they both showed a great knack of the issues facing the city of Montezuma. Both gave very impressive performances & didn't hurt themselves among those in the audience & listening on Radio WMNZ 1050 AM which carried the debate live.

Tarshea Fudge-Riley showed why she is considered the favorite for one of the council seats at one time going head to head with Incumbent Mayor Willie Larry. She was sharp, crisp & quick on the answers & it would surprise me if she didn't win it this time around.

Although she didn't say much during the debate, but Judy Hasselkus was solid in her performance. Her problem could be that she is low key, but she has signs signs all around montezuma.

Incumbent Mayor Willie Larry & challenger LeVonda Journey- Bush are both fighting for the chance to be Montezuma's next Mayor in next month's municipal elections. I must say I was surprised how effective Journey-Bush was in the debate, especially for a first time candidate. She felt very comfortable in her own skin, she was precise & direct with her answers & clearly was the better debater over Mayor Larry who didn't perform all than well, at times reading his answers from a sheet of paper he had at his disposal.

The winners: LeVonda-Journey Bush, Tarshea Riley, Charles Ivey, Norman Carter, Dee Gilmore

The Losers were: Mayor Willie Larry, Frank Lester III

My prediction on who might win:

City Council:

Tarshea Fudge-Riley, Charles Ivey, Norman Carter.....BUT (It wouldn't surprise me if Dee Gilmore or Judy Hasselkus wins one of those three council seats)


If the disdain of City Hall is legit, LeVonda Journey Bush will defeat Willie J. Larry on 11/8/2011. Larry is the favorite because of name recognition, but based on what I saw in last night's debate, it wouldn't surprise me if Journey-Bush unseat the long-time mayor of Montezuma. From my view, Mayor Larry is running on the status quo & for a city that has lost so much over the last 6 years, that may not be enough this time....but I could be wrong!

Looking ahead to 2012, if Mayor Larry wins re-election one have to believe that Councilman Charles Ivey will get a serious push to run for Mayor. He has all the tools to become a great mayor, question is would he make that jump?

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