The Union Recorder

Election 2013

October 25, 2013

District 2 Q&A: Jeanette Walden

Incumbent Jeanette Walden, District 2, is running unopposed.

Jeanette Walden

Jeanette Walden was born and raised in Grovetown on a dairy farm, where activities included school, church and farming. She has been a resident of Baldwin County for more than 50 years and has lived in District 2 for 46 years. She has been married to Wade Walden for 49 years. They have two children and four grandchildren. She has served on Council for 15 consecutive years.

Why should citizens of your district vote for you?

Two reasons come to mind. First I have experience that comes after 16 years of service on the Council that is invaluable in helping guide the city into the future. Second, I get things accomplished for my district, but also more importantly, the entire community. I am proud of my work with the Central State Hospital and the Milledgeville-Baldwin Communiversity in the Shaw Building. These projects have tremendous potential for creating new jobs for the entire community. However, I am most proud of being available to my district. Those who reside in my district know I will always listen to and do the best I can to help them in any way that I can.

How would you define your job as mayor/councilman/councilwoman?

Three words: service, honesty and commitment. Service is the cornerstone of the political process; “to serve” is the true meaning and should be the foundation of one’s desire to be an elected official. Honesty needs no explanation. When you deal with citizens in your district or anyone in the community, be honest in what can or can’t be done. Commitment of time and energy is the basis for effective political service. Attending a Council meeting is not enough if you do not take the time to prepare and understand the business coming before Council. I have learned that the time needed to be a Council member is a full time job.

Will you support allowing a unification measure to go to ballot for citizens to decide — yes or no? Please explain your answer.

The decision regarding unification ultimately rests with the voters of Milledgeville and Baldwin County. However my desire is that we have the best charter possible before we move to the ballot box.

How will you implement your vision for Milledgeville?

First, I alone can’t implement a vision for Milledgeville. My work is only a part of a collective body including other members of the Council and most importantly our citizens who must all work together on a common vision for the entire community. We must be completely honest in understanding where we are and unified in where we need to go to create jobs.

What should the city do to address emergency service issues/concerns with the county?

I do not know of any issues/concerns with emergency services. In the past and presently both the city and county back up each other when assistance is called upon. In the event of a disaster, a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) has been pasted for the city and county to work together accordingly.

Do you feel the city’s ethics policy makes a strong enough statement? Should changes be made to the policy?

I think the policy is efficient and adequate, and since we are just completing our first ethics process, we should wait till that process is completed before evaluating potential changes. I do appreciate those who serve on our ethics board and appreciate their time, dedication and service to Milledgeville. In general terms, our policy should always allow citizens who feel they have a valid complaint to come forward and raise their issues.

What, if anything, do you feel the city should have done differently in handling its first ethics complaint under the new policy?

Again, I think we need to wait till this initial process is complete before we really try to assess the effectiveness of the current system.

How can city officials strengthen communication between city and county leaders and departments?

I support the communication that is ongoing between the mayor and chairman of the county commission. That dialogue is important as we move our community forward. I think however that the majority of coordination and work should be done at the manager level. Both the county and city have managers that should interact regularly to find better ways to be more efficient and provide better service to the entire community. I appreciate the joint meetings that have been conducted at council and commission level. Those should continue and should be true work sessions to explore ways we can work together for all residents in the community.

As a member of Council, how will you support the Central State Hospital redevelopment efforts?

I have said for over two years that the CSH project is our single greatest opportunity to grow new jobs in Milledgeville and Baldwin County. I honestly believe we are at the threshold of making that campus a true economic opportunity for our entire community. Regarding my support, it has never been less than it is today. Our efforts with Gov. Deal, Senate and House leaders and the State Property Commission have laid the foundation for the future of what the CSH campus can be. I am more excited about this project every day and this will always be a top priority with me.

What is your view of the chain of command in city government and who holds city officials accountable?

We operate under a city manager form of government and that is where the chain of command begins with the city employees. I believe it is our responsibility on Council to hold the city manager responsible for all aspects of the city operation. Ultimately city officials, whether elected to Council or hired by the city, have one obligation — provide the best possible service to our citizens. We elected to serve are held accountable every four years at the ballot box, our hired professional management must be held accountable by those elected every day of our service.

How will you support the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Communiversity project at the former Shaw building and what other efforts can be made to retain young professionals in this community after they graduate?

My support of the MBC Communiversity has never been stronger. I always believed this concept would work as an opportunity to keep some of our young talented graduates in Milledgeville. However when I visited the Featherbone Communiversity in Gainesville I saw the concept working. Our Communiversity has signed a cooperative agreement with Featherbone, and we will model our program after their experiences. I believe the numbers in Gainesville include over 700 new jobs and $40 million of investment since Featherbone started. I would encourage anyone finding themselves near Gainesville, take time to visit Featherbone and see young entrepreneurs growing the new economic base for that community. We have the same opportunity at the MBC Communivesity with graduates of Georgia College, Georgia Military College and Central Georgia Technical College. Last we all in Milledgeville owe a tremendous thanks to David and CC Sinclair; their investment, drive and determination are the foundation of the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Communiversity.

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Election 2013
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  • District 2 Q&A: Jeanette Walden

    Incumbent Jeanette Walden, District 2, is running unopposed.

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  • District 1 Q&A: Dr. Collinda Lee

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