Active Life Center hosts West Point city candidates

Published 8:00 am Saturday, October 21, 2023

On Friday, Active Life Recreation Center hosted West Point’s upcoming mayor and city council candidates during a forum with senior citizens. 

“The reason that we do this at all three Active Life Centers is to give you access to your public officials and to empower you as older adults so that you not only hear from them and hear about them to make a good decision, but you also introduce yourself and know who you could turn to when there are issues or concerns that you have as an older adult,” said Dan Wooten, director of the Active Life Recreation Centers, during the forum. 

Each candidate was given four minutes to introduce themselves and explain why they would make a good city representative. Afterward, candidates stayed for a meet and greet.  

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Mayoral candidates

West Point mayor candidates Incumbent Mayor Steve Tramell and City Councilmember Deedee Williams spoke first. 

Williams, who was elected to the city council in 2019, said her background in business and the city council have qualified her to run for mayor. She said West Point was unprepared for the economic growth caused by KIA and Point University. 

“The economic boom that came as a result of that was not realized as much by us as it was by our surrounding cities,” Williams said. “We’re about to experience another economic surge. A lot of jobs are coming. People will come for those jobs. We need to be ready as a city to take advantage of these people who are coming into our city.” 

Williams said the way to make those improvements is by focusing on education, youth recreation like a city pool, tennis courts and a riverwalk and retail development along the Chattahoochee River.

Tramell, who moved to West Point to raise his children, runs the SewingMachine.com downtown and does construction work in West Point. He has served as mayor for eight years and served on the city council for two years prior. 

“That’s about the time that we really started to take off,” Tramell said. “And I’m sure everybody has seen the growth that we’ve had in our community, but we’ve still got a lot more to go.”

Tramell mentioned the construction and volunteer work he has done in the community as mayor. He also volunteered to pass out essential goods to citizens during the pandemic and at Christmas. 

“I do construction work, like I said, either working on people’s homes, or construction work for myself here in town doing what I can to make West Point grow and be a better place to live,” Tramell said. 

City council candidates

Incumbent City Councilmember Sandra Thornton and city council candidates Kevin Patrick and Andra Haynes also addressed the center. 

City council candidates Aaron Lewis, Sean Moore and Incumbent City Councilmember Gerald Ledbetter were not in attendance during the forum. Three of the six council candidates running for positions will be elected since West Point has at-large voting.

Patrick, regional vice president at Primerica Financial Services, has worked in West Point since 2000 and has been a resident since 2009. For the past six years, Patrick has served on the West Point Development Authority Board, municipal planning board, housing authority board, the Troup Council on Aging and THINC Academy.

“I’ve always wanted to serve my community in any capacity that I could, whether it was being a PTO president at elementary school while my kids were at West Point Elementary or coaching and mentoring kids over at the recreation building,” Patrick said.

Patrick said he hopes to improve the communication between the city council and its citizens, businesses and school system and focus on improving recreation for adults and youth.

Thornton, a longtime city council member, said she has served the community continually since being elected.

Thornton addressed the community service projects that she has been involved in over the years including raising money and advocating for senior citizens and community members.

Thornton also mentioned the sidewalk project on 10th Street, the new playground in the housing authority and Keep Troup Beautiful as some of the projects she has been involved in with the city council. 

“I know we’ve still got a problem with trash,” Thornton said. “But I have picked up so much trash. Point University students are always willing to volunteer.”

Haynes, born and raised in West Point, said she hopes to be a voice piece for citizens and encourage West Point residents to use their vote. 

“I decided to run because I want the opportunity to serve the community. I want to be a voice for the citizens,” Haynes said. 

Haynes said she feels it’s time for new voices to be heard and called for change in the city’s leadership.