MILLEDGEVILLE — Milledgeville City Council gained a youthful addition to the board when incoming District 4 Councilman Walter Reynolds took his oath to serve Monday.
“The first thing that comes to mind is that I’m absolutely elated to be a part of this council. I think that we have the right group in place,” Reynolds said. “We have the energy and enthusiasm and will get some things done.”
At 25 years old, Reynolds is the youngest ever elected to council.
As a lifelong resident of Milledgeville and Baldwin County, he couldn’t be prouder.
“I’m happy to have this opportunity to show that young folks that have roots in the community can get involved and make positive change,” Reynolds said. “It is kind of cool to be the youngest person ever elected. That’s pretty neat.”
Running unopposed, Reynolds already began work on several campaign promises relating to the Keep Milledgeville Baldwin Beautiful and film ready projects.
“I like to think that the work I’ve already put in place will be a precedent for the rest of my four years. Having the time to take on these sorts of tasks will help to keep that useful energy moving,” he said.
He is a graduate of Baldwin High School and Georgia Military College. Reynolds studied rhetoric at Georgia College before taking a management position with Z97.
He serves as treasurer of the Oconee River Greenway Foundation and is the chairman of the Young Professionals of Milledgeville.
With a prominent face through the local radio station, living in the public light isn’t a new gig for Reynolds.
“A lot of people think for a newly elected official it’s going to be a heck of a gear change to live in a glass house, but I’ve been living in a glass house for years now,” he said. “I’ve learned how to keep a low profile. I don’t think there will be any challenge for me there.”
Bringing entertainment and arts to the Central State Hospital Redevelopment efforts are stated goals for Reynolds.
The “Community First” campaign slogan has meaning to the youthful elected official.
“Coming from the community I have a good understanding of the challenges of this community and not just the things that are holding us back but also the massive amount of great things that we have going on here,” Reynolds said. “Milledgeville is really a unique city with all of its assets. I feel like being in this position I’m going to have even more ability to bring different parts of the community together to work for a well-rounded future. I think I’ll be able to bring my gifts, knowledge and expertise to do great things for the city.”
Having experienced council members to guide a newcomer through the first few months helps.
Councilwomen Denese Shinholster, District 3, and Jeanette Walden, District 2, are excited about their new partner for city progress.
“We told (Reynolds) we were looking forward to him showing that young people are ready to step into this position. It’s not an easy task,” Shinholster said. “It’s easy for someone on the outside to tell you how they think things should be done, but it’s a whole different conversation once you get in here and find out how things really work. We are going to be here to mentor him and help him learn his way through.”
Walden said Reynolds would show “that young people can do it right.”