Finlay new council member in West Point; Hutchinson voted out

Published 7:56 pm Tuesday, November 2, 2021

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The West Point City Council officially has a new member, challenger Joel Finlay.

Finlay received 335 total votes, grabbing one of three available seats on the West Point City Council. In West Point, candidates do not run by district. Instead, the top three vote getters are elected.

Two incumbents —Gloria Ramsey Marshall Dr. Joseph R. Downs, III and — managed to stay on the council with 344 and 329 votes, respectively. Alanteo “Henry” Hutchinson lost his seat with only 279 votes.

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Finlay said he was “elated” and thanked the citizens of West Point for the opportunity they gave him. He said he planned to use his position to make West Point better.

“I just want to do what I said I was going to do, which is be a person of the community and try to move it forward and take advantage of the resources we have available, which of course are Kia, Point University, and the Chattahoochee River,” he said.

Downs couldn’t be reached after the election, but he said earlier on Tuesday that if he were re-elected, he’d be honored to continue to serve the people of West Point for an additional four years and work with the city staff and city leaders on the West Point Council. He said that as a physician, the health and safety of West Point concern him, especially.

“The only time the four of us candidates for the three positions actually met face to face, we were in agreement about maintaining public health and safety, continuing economic development, improving opportunities and programs for seniors and children, reducing trash, and publicizing opportunities for citizens to get involved in our city through serving on boards and advisory groups,” he said. “Each of us have slightly different approaches, but we share those goals.”

Hutchinson said he was a little surprised but not disappointed by the results.

“I totally understand the direction that the community wants to go in,” he said. “I’m not discouraged. I’ll continue to serve my community as I did before I got on the council, in some type of capacity.”

Hutchinson said he will continue to serve the community through volunteer work. He currently volunteers with the United Way of West Georgia and serves on the Georgia Youth and Children’s Council. He said he’ll spend time considering whether or not he wants to stay in politics.

Marshall couldn’t be reached for comment.