Council candidates speak in Valley

Published 4:41 pm Tuesday, February 12, 2019

VALLEY — Three candidates for the vacant District One seat spoke at Monday’s meeting of the Valley City Council to make their case for council service. The seat has been vacant since Paul Story resigned shortly before being sworn in as Chambers County’s new probate judge.

District One residents Jim Clark, Bo Colley and Joe Foster have expressed interest in the position. Each was given five minutes to introduce themselves and to say why they wanted to be a member of the council.

Clark said he’d grown up in the Huguley community and had played little league baseball in the Shawmut community. He said that he had been a teammate of City Attorney John Ben Jones and had known Council Member Jim Jones for a long time. He said that his wife was a Shawmut native and that the community had always felt like home to him.

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Clark said he’d done lots of contract work for Georgia Quick Start and had been in communities similar to Valley all over Georgia.

“I love this area and am proud to be from here,” he said. “I admire the way residents of the local area support Valley Haven School and storm relief efforts. I’m especially pleased for Valley to have been selected the best city in the state (by Wall Street 24/7), and I think it’s something we can build on. I would like to see us look like the best city in the state. We have some work to do in cleaning up litter in the city. I will be outspoken on this should you choose me to represent the district.”

Council Member Jones asked each candidate the same hypothetical question: “Let’s say I’m an outsider, why would I want to visit Valley or live there?”

Next up was Bo Colley, who works in the Chambers County circuit clerk’s office in LaFayette.

He’s a lifelong resident of the Shawmut community and a 2015 graduate of Valley High. He commended the mayor and council on having done good work on behalf of Valley citizens.

“I think you have done an outstanding job working with other organizations to bring jobs to the Valley, and I would like to be part of this effort,” he said.

Colley said he wanted to see his generation of Valley natives stay in the local area.

“We have to give them a reason to do this,” he said. “Jobs, schools, housing, safety and entertainment are top priorities,” he said. “I would love to work with this council to keep our city moving forward.”

Colley said he has worked for State Sen. Randy Price, State Rep. Debbie Wood and works daily with Circuit Clerk Lisa Burette.

“As an employee of the circuit clerk’s office, I work closely with a variety of people, including law enforcement officers, DHR, attorneys, judges and citizens of the county,” Colley said. “I am a team player, and a fast, eager learner. I volunteer at the community center and work with youth as a volunteer coach for baseball, football and basketball. I would bring a voice for the youth on this council.”

Colley ran for the District One seat in 2016, finishing second to Story.

“I personally feel the people of District One would support my appointment to this seat,” he said.

Foster told the mayor and council that he’s lived in the Valley area all his life and has been a resident of the City of Valley since 1992. His wife, Sherri Wood Foster, works for the Chambers County Commission.

Foster said that he had worked for WestPoint Stevens for approximately 20 years and had been employed in the construction and heating and air fields.

He’s been a member of West End Baptist Church in Valley for the past 15 years. He has served the church as an usher, a greeter, on the Building and Grounds Committee and is active in the Vacation Bible School program.

“I would like to see a bus transportation system in the city,” he said. “Many Valley residents do not have a way to go to and from work and to go shopping. There’s a big need to update our speed limit signs. The ones in front of LaFayette Lanier Elementary School need to have the most current hours when the children are arriving at school in the morning.”

Foster said he’d like to see the speed limit lowered on Highway 29 near Walmart and for a new traffic light to be put in there.

“The speed limit should be lowered between Walmart and the interstate,” he said.

Foster said he was pleased to see some improvements coming to Moore’s Creek in Langdale.

“I like the way the industrial park is shaping up, too,” he said.

He commended the mayor and council for the work they have been doing on behalf of Valley residents.

“They have been working hard to make Valley a better place to live and work,” he said. “I would like to be a part of it.”

A vote to pick the new council member will be held at the council’s next meeting on Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. The new council member would be sworn in on Monday, March 11.