Dougherty Co. commissioner candidates have different ideas on lawsuit against the state

Dougherty Co. commissioner candidates have different ideas on lawsuit against the state
Both candidates said they are not in favor of the Dougherty County commission suing to stop Lee County from building a hospital. (Source: WALB)
District 2 commission candidate Victor Edwards (Source: WALB)
District 2 commission candidate Victor Edwards (Source: WALB)
Commissioner John Hayes (Source: WALB)
Commissioner John Hayes (Source: WALB)

DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - With the runoff election coming next month, one of the highly publicized races is for the Dougherty County District 2 commission seat.

Incumbent John Hayes is facing Victor Edwards in the runoff.

One of the more important topics is the Dougherty County lawsuit against the state of Georgia, trying to stop the Certificate of Need for the Lee County hospital.

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Both candidates said they are not in favor of the Dougherty County commission suing to stop Lee County from building a hospital.

Edwards said he is totally against the suit.

Hayes said he is against the lawsuit, but still wants Phoebe Putney to be the region's hospital.

"The public is outraged at spending the money," said Edwards.

Edwards is hoping to put the citizens first in District 2 as he faces incumbent John Hayes for the commission seat in July.

But both candidates have a different view on one controversial topic.

"I would piggybacking off Commissioner Hudgins, I totally am against the lawsuit," explained Edwards.

Commissioner Hayes sits on the hospital authority for Phoebe and is advocating for both communities, Dougherty and Lee counties to work together to make the existing health system, Phoebe Putney, vibrant.

"To have a very collaborated effort among those of us in government, as well as our citizens, and everyone connected with Phoebe Health systems, as well as our partners in Lee County to do the very best that we can to make your current health system the best that it can be," said Hayes.

But Edwards added that the citizens of Dougherty and Lee counties want a choice in health care.

"Put the people first because the quality of service is what people are looking for," said Edwards.

Edwards also said that competition is healthy.

"You know it would not have a negative impact on Dougherty County and I believe as a local businessman, in free enterprise. I think that competition is good, it makes us sharper," said Edwards.

Hayes said he speaks for the people he represents.

"Many of the folks that I talked with, their response was that we want choice and choice means that you want to have your hospital, your health system to be as healthy as can be," said Hayes.

WALB tried to contact all of the Dougherty County commissioners for their stance on the lawsuit against the state.

Commissioner Anthony Jones said he did not want to comment.

Ewell Lyle explained that in the beginning, he voted for the lawsuit because the study Dougherty County conducted showed it would have a negative impact on the economy, but after being denied in court twice, Lyle will not support to move forward with the lawsuit.

The rest of the commissioners did not return our messages.

Commissioner Lamar Hudgins is on record saying he has never supported the lawsuit against the state.

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