Thursday, July 24 2014 11:46 PM EDT2014-07-25 03:46:21 GMT
Former Associated Press writer Jim Purks shared his experiences with people in Albany Thursday night.More >>
Former Associated Press writer Jim Purks shared his experiences with people in Albany Thursday night. More >>
ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A convicted felon is running for office in Albany. 18 years after police arrested former city commissioner Victor Edwards for buying half a kilo of cocaine, he's back in the running. He says he's turned his life around and ready to lead Albany in the right direction.
Edwards is running against Commissioner Tommie Postell. Postell received heat after his comment that all white people looked alike in last week's city commission meeting.
Edwards spent federal time in prison for money laundering after undercover agents arrested him for buying a half kilo of cocaine in 1993. He say's he's learned from his mistakes.
"18 years ago was a trying situation," said Edwards. "We regret it. We apologize. It was tough. The past was the past. It was a youthful mistake."
The 48 year old wants to revitalize vacant buildings in Ward six and convince the Economic Development Commission give under privileged businesses a chance.
"We pay a lot of money to out of town consultants," Edwards noted. "They take the money and leave and we're still here fighting the same challenges."
E.P. Contractor Willie Edmondson also believes Edwards can pick up his past and move Albany in the right direction.
"It would be a great asset," said Edmondson. "He's young with an open mind and he wants to see things happen."
As a business man himself, Edwards wants to speak with other entrepreneurs to form ideas to help his district prosper.
"He's getting over his hurdles," said a friend, Charlie Baker. "He's going to do great because he has God behind him and he's an awesome person."
Edwards' friends and family want him to run, but what about other neighbors who know about his past?
"I believe people do deserve a second chance and I'm interested to see where he stands now," said Barbara Harris. "I'm interested to find out what Edwards is about after the comment Tommie Postell made. I felt we have come so far and that comment sets our city back. He (Postell) is held at a higher standard and needs to be more sensitive."
As a mentor, teacher, and community leader, Edwards understands people will hold him at a higher standard, and he asks Albany for a second chance.
Edwards' full speech from Saturday morning is posted below:
A NEW REALITY
August 27, 2011
GOOD MORNING TO EACH AND EVRYONE WHO CAME OUT ON THIS OCCASSION I WILL FOR EVER BE IN YOUR DEBT.
TODAY IS A GOOD DAY FOR ME BECAUSE I AM COMFORTABLE IN THE GRACE GOD HAS GIVEN ME. IN 1984 I ENGAGED ON A JOURNEY THAT NETTED 2,556 VOTES TO BECOME THE YOUNGEST IN THE USA TO BECOME A COUNTY COMM. FOR DIST 3 AND I GOT ELECTED THREE CONSECTIVE TERMS. BUT THEN IN 1993 AT THE AGE OF 29 YEARS OLD, LIFE HAPPENENED TO ME, AND I MADE A SERIOUS YOUTHFUL MISTAKE THAT I DEEPLY REGRET. I STOOD BEFORE THIS COMMUNITY AN APOLIGIZED FOR PLACING MYSELF IN A COMPRISING POSITION THAT COST ME AND MY FAMILY 15 MONTHS APART FROM EACH OTHER. BUT TODAY I STAND BEFORE YOU AS A MATURE MAN, WHO HAS DISCIPLINED HIMSELF TO DWELL ON THE POSITIVES RATHER THAN THE NEGATIVES. USUALLY THE TRADITION OF MAN WOULD SAY ‘VICTOR YOU BLEW YOUR CHANCE AND FELL FROM GRACE" BUT THE TRUTH SAYS "GRACE IS SUFFICIENT" NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE OR
WHO YOU ARE. I AM COMFORTABLE IN THE GRACE GIVEN TO ME.
I ‘VE LEARNED YOU HAVE TO KEEP THE FAITH AND BE OF GOOD COURAGE AND STRIDE FOR A BETTER FUTURE.
APPROXIMATELY 18 YEARS AGO WAS THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE, BUT AN UN-CROSSABLE RIVER CAN BECOME A SIDEWALK WITH GOD. I WAS PRIVILEDGED TO BE A MEMBER OF A COMMISSION WHICH WAS PROBABLY THE MOST SUCCESSFULL COMMISSION OF ITS TIME.
SOME OF ITS ACCOMPLISHMENTS WERE:
TH PASSING OF THE 1ST SPECIAL LOCAL OPTIONS SALES TAX
CONSTRUCTION OF THE DO.CO. JAIL
A NEW ALBANY MENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT
EMS STATION WAS BUILT ON CLARK AVE.
DO.CO. HEALTH DEPARTMENT
WHY? BECAUSE THAT COMM. WAS CONCERNED ABOUT THE ENTIRE COUNTY & CITY.
THE COMMUNITY ENJOYS THESE PROJECTS TO THIS VERY DAY.
IN MY HEART, I KNOW THIS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO, I HAVE A VISION TO CHANGE THE PERCEPTION OF WARD 6.
I HAVE RAISED MY FAMILY IN THIS WARD FOR 13 YEARS AS SOME MIGHT CALL IT THE "HOOD", BUT IF THIS WARD IS RECOGNIZED AS THE HOOD, SHOULD NOT OUR LEADERS TRY TO CHANGE THAT PERCEPTION? IN OTHER WORDS SHOULD NOT NORTH ALBANY, BE CONCERNED ABOUT SOUTH ALBANY,….AND SHOULD NOT WEST ALBANY, BE CONCERNED ABOUT EAST ALBANY, IN AN EFFORT TO CREATE A NEW REALITY FOR OUR ENTIRE CITY?
I HAD TO CREATE A NEW REALITY FOR MYSELF AND FAMILY, BECAUSE LIFE WILL HAPPEN TO US IN SOME FORM THAT WILL ALTAR OUR DESTINY. LIFE HAS HAPPENENED TO THE CITY OF ALBANY & DOUGHERTY COUNTY:
FOR EXAMPLE : THE CLOSING OF COOPER TIRE,
BOB CANDIES, DELFI, AND THE COCA COLA PLANT MOVED TO TIFTON THEN TO SYLVESTER.
IT IS TIME FOR US AS A CITY TO CREATE A NEW REALITY AND STRENGTHEN AND EMPOWER OUR SMALL BUSINESS SECTOR WHO CAN HIRE PEOPLE WITH LONGETIVITY IN MIND.
THAT'S WHY I STAND BEFORE YOU TODAY IN FRONT OF THIS VACANT BUILDING ----- I WOULD LIKE TO RESEARCH THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR APPLYING FOR THE FACADE GRANTS FROM ADDICA TO EXTEND THE BOUNDARY LINES ON MLK TO ESTABLISH OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL SMALL BUSINESSES.
I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE ECONOMIC DEV COMMISSION TO CONNECT THE UNDER -PRIVILEDGED BUSINESSES TO THE MORE PRIVILEGED BUSINESSES.
I WOULD ENCOURAGE OWNERSHIP IN THIS COMMUNITY AS WELL AS FOR EACH OTHER AND INSTILL TO OUR YOUNG PEOPLE TO RESPECT OUR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT .
WE MUST BE INNOVATIVE TO FIND WHAT UNIQUELY WORKS FOR OUR CITY IN AN EFFORT TO PUT ALL RESDIENTS BACK TO WORK. LET'S BRING BUSINESS OWNERS FROM THE COMMUNITY THAT OPERATE SUCESSFUL BUSINESSES INSTEAD OF PAYING OUT OF TOWN CONSULANT FIRMS.
AGAIN TODAY I STAND BEFORE YOU READY TO GO TO WORK FOR WARD 6, NOT AS A PERFECT MAN , BUT A MAN WHO HAS LEAPED SEVERAL BARRIERS OVER THE PAST 13 YEARS AFTER LEAVING PUBLIC OFFICE.
IN CREATING A NEW REALITY FOR MYSELF THESE PAST 13 YEARS,
I HAVE HAD THE PRIVILEDGE OF WORKING AS A CONSULTANT IN SEVERAL PAST CAMPAIGNS;
AS A MENTOR I'VE DONE MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKING THRU THE TOPPSTEP EX-OFFENDER PROGRAM WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR.
I DID SOME SUBSTITUE TEACHING IN THE SURROUNDING AREA OF DOUGHERTY COUNTY.
I ATTENDED ALBANY TECH COLLEGE AND RECEIVED MY CDL CERTIFICATION AND DROVE TRACTOR TRAILER FOR 3 YEARS.
I BECAME A SALESMEN FOR ALBANY HONDA,
I DROVE A CEMENT MIXER FOR TRIPLE A CONCRETE
I WORKED IN SHIPPING AND RECEIVING WITH LEEDS BUILDING SUPPLY
I MENTION THESE THINGS BECAUSE THEY BECAME A PART OF A NEW REALITY FOR ME AND IF I CAN DO IT -- WE CAN ALL CREATE A NEW REALITY. OUT OF ALL OF THOSE EXPERIENCES AND OPPORTUNITIES MY OWN SMALL BUSINESS WAS BIRTHED WHICH IS NOW EDWARDS ENTERPRISES -- A FACILITY MAINTENANCE COMPANY WHICH HAS BEEN OPERATING FOR 9 YEARS.
I WOULD LIKE TO THANK MY WIFE OF 13 YEARS FOR HER STRENGTH AND PATIENCE AND FOR BEING MY PARTNER IN ESTABLISHING A STRONG FOUNDATION BUT ESPECIALLY FOR BEING MY FRIEND. I AM THANKFUL FOR MY 5 CHILDREN FOR BEING MY DRIVING FORCE IN NOT ALLOWING ME TO BURY MY HEAD IN THE SAND. WE HAVE TAUGHT THEM TO BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION AND NOT THE PROBLEM. WE HAVE TAUGHT THEM THAT "NO ONE CAN MAKE THEM FEEL INFERIOR WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT".
ALSO I WOULD LIKE TO THANK MY PARENTS, COMM. MAURLEAN EDWARDS AND MY DAD WILLIAM PENN EDWARDS, AND MY SISTER AND BROTHER, FOR NEVER LETTING ME GIVE UP; THANK SOME OF MY CHURCH FAMILY FROM LIFE CHRISTIAN CENTER INTERNATIONAL WHO CAME OUT THIS MORNING TO SUPPORT ME, I THANK MY FRIENDS FOR BELIEVING IN ME AND THE MEDIA FOR TAKING THEIR TIME TO COVER THIS STORY.
SO WARD 6 LETS GET OUT TO VOTE ON NOV 8, 2011 AND JUMP SOME OF THESE HURDLES. I WANT TO TELL THIS TO WARD 6,
GOD HAS NOT CALLED US TO COPE BUT HE HAS CALLED US TO OVERCOME ---SO GET OUT AND VOTE FOR VICTOR T EDWARDS, YOUR NEXT CITY COMMISSIONER FOR WARD 6.