MILLEDGEVILLE — Georgia College held a forum for Milledgeville City Council and mayoral candidates Tuesday in the Magnolia Ballroom.
The Student Government Association, Young Democrats, College Republicans, Delta Sigma Theta, Pi Sigma Alpha, American Democracy Project and the Department of Government and Sociology organized the community event.
Candidates in contested District 3, District 5 and District 6, as well as both hopeful mayors, responded to district-specific student panel and audience questions.
District 5 challenger Pam Beer was absent Tuesday.
• Denese R. Shinholster (District 3 incumbent)
Shinholster said the city embraces its educational institutions.
“You assist our local citizens in keeping the city vibrant. We want the kind of jobs that encourage you to stay here and affordable housing communities that will entice you to stay even longer and raise a family,” she said.
The current councilwomen said five years from now the city will work more closely with Georgia College, Georgia Military College and Central Georgia Technical College.
“We are going to have to develop some type of partnership because as the colleges grow they are encircling the city. That brings about new services and issues we'd have to work on together. I see us working together to bring jobs, programs and opportunities so all of the students feel like they are a part of the community,” Shinholster said.
Improving or installing sidewalks for better general student and handicap accessibility is difficult and expensive, but Shinholster said the city would look into a current Columbia Street issue mentioned by a student.
“I've listened to the people, heard what they've talked about and do plan to address those issues both now and in the future,” the councilwoman said.
• Phillip Smith (District 3 challenger)
Smith told the crowd he sees a lack in government.
“Many will agree on a national, state and local level that people in the community don't feel as though they are represented. When I go out into my district and meet average people, they don't feel like their government works for them,” Smith said.