Newcomer wants to oust political veteran - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Newcomer wants to oust political veteran

October 30, 2007

Albany - A political newcomer is challenging a veteran Albany city commissioner. Ward one Commissioner Jon Howard is the longest-serving city commissioner of 13 years. Challenger Contractor Jimmy Jones says the time has come for a new face to lead East Albany and he's just the man for the job.

For 13 years, he's walked the streets of East Albany. This is where Jon Howard sleeps at night, and eats during the day. But he won't pretend that there aren't problems here that need to be addressed. "I've been a resident of East Albany for the last 30 years. I feel safe," he said, "but I am cautious on certain pockets of the community that I do visit."

He's worked on gang awareness and trying to reduce crime, but says much more work remains in East Albany. "Domestic violence is a number one problem, and black on black crimes in the city is a growing concern, so we've got to involve the business community and we've got to involve the faith based community and of course, we've got to involve our public safety officers to make sure we try to eradicate crime within the whole city and county."

But this is an area a newcomer wants to lead.  Jimmy Jones has also lived in East Albany for 30 plus years and he says it's time for a change.  He said, "I had constituents that came to me and said we need to do something about East Albany and it seemed like it's just being drained so I took it upon myself to run."

He, too, thinks public safety is a major issue.  "Streets, safety of streets. We need to keep the streets safe for our children and our seniors," he said.

And for the children, he wants a recreation center opened in East Albany, to keep them off the streets and out of the reach of gang activity and recruitment.  "If you give the children something they can do, then they wouldn't be prone to gangs."

He's also concerned about the lack of economic development in East Albany and wants to see it grow.  He said, "Well, I think we need to revitalize East Albany, bring new businesses to East Albany."

And Howard agrees. He says it's important to bring new businesses in while keeping old businesses like Mrs. Beas around for years to come. "It's the small mom and pop businesses that we've certainly got to support." But for now, it's these men seeking your support. One to stay in office, another to take it over.

Early voting is going on right now for city commission wards one, four and six, and the Mayor. Election day is November 6th.

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