The Union Recorder

November 6, 2013

Incumbents retain Council seats

City election turnout only 20 percent

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder


The City of Milledgeville wrapped up its 2013 elections Tuesday evening. 

Minus one position, Walter Reynolds, District 4, City Council and mayoral race winners were all incumbents. 

City elections superintendent Patti Rushin said she was disappointed in the overall voter turnout. Of 5,914 active registered voters, just 1,204 cast votes accounting for a low 20.36 percent total.

Rushin said after all the work behind the scenes seeing so few city residents vote hurt.

“It’s really sickening that so many folks complain about government, yet so many folks do nothing to have a voice in it. People need to get that message,” she said.

Unofficial Milledgeville municipal election results:

• Dr. Collinda J. Lee (District 1 Incumbent Unopposed)

She has served on City Council for four years and as Mayor Pro-Tem one year.

Lee said implementation of her vision for the City of Milledgeville will come through growth strategy, economic and social procedures, which in turn would be a long-term plan, goal and commitment for sustainability.

“It was the people who placed me in this government office, and it is the people who are keeping me in office,” Lee previously told the Union-Recorder. “Therefore, I will continue to listen to the people and adhere to the people’s needs.”

• Jeanette H. Walden (District 2 Incumbent Unopposed)

Walden is finishing her 16th year on Council and looks forward to four more serving District 2.

“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,” Walden previously told the U-R.

• Denese R. Shinholster (District 3 Incumbent)

Shinholster is currently one of the senior most elected officials serving in city government. She defeated challenger Phillip Smith Tuesday 137 votes to 50 votes.

“I bring leadership, experience and stability to the table for the citizens of my district. It is important for people to have someone they can count on to make informed decisions. I’m not a newcomer to the area. I’ve been involved with District 3 for some time. It is important for the citizens to know that we understand their needs and are willing to help them in every way possible,” Shinholster told the U-R.

• Walter Reynolds (District 4 Unopposed)

Reynolds is a lifelong resident of Milledgeville and Baldwin County. He serves as treasurer of the Oconee River Greenway Foundation and is the chairman of the Young Professionals of Milledgeville. 

Reynolds ran unopposed after current District 4 Councilman Phillip Joiner decided not to seek reelection.

“More than anything, it is a representative’s job to listen. My door will always be open to those who see where improvements can be made. Together we can make Milledgeville a shining example of what a community is supposed to be,” Reynolds told the U-R.

• Richard “Boo” Mullins, Jr. (District 5 Incumbent)

Mullins is a lifelong resident of Milledgeville and most importantly of District 5, serving on Council for 13 years. The incumbent’s 235 total votes outlasted challengers Pam Beer (64) and Daniel McDonald (70).

“We have to aggressively seek ways to provide jobs and attract young professionals. We also have to make sure that we stay abreast with new and innovative technology,” Mullins told the U-R. “I will remain actively involved in discussions and decisions that will bring about progressive change and continue to move Milledgeville forward. In order to implement this vision, our leaders will have to think outside of the box.”

• Steve Chambers (District 6 Incumbent)

Chambers has served three full terms and a one-year unexpired term on City Council. He serves on the South Eastern Fabricare Association board that represents dry cleaners in the Southeast and is immediate past president and board chair.

The District 6 winner defeated challenger Andrew Strickland 234 to 151.

As a small business owner, Chambers thinks he still has the “time, energy and desire” to fill the obligations of an elected official.

“I have the experience, knowledge and leadership skills that are needed to help lead this city through these most difficult times,” Chambers said to the U-R.

After hearing news of his reelection, Chambers was somber about the low voter turnout.

“I’m excited about the opportunity. I’m disappointed in the low voter turnout. I don’t know what the reason of it is,” he said.

Chambers said he looks forward to welcoming Reynolds to the “teamwork started over the last four years.” 

• Mayor Richard Bentley (Incumbent)

Bentley returns for his third consecutive mayoral term. He tallied 880 votes to John Grant, Jr.’s total of 259.

“My vision for Milledgeville has always been to do everything possible to make our city the envy of our peers. Even in this most difficult of times, we have actually faired better than some of our peer cities,” Bentley told the U-R. 

After results were finalized, Bentley explained a clear mission for the next term.

“I wanted a third term simply because I think we are starting to make the turn to recovery, and I wanted to be a part of that recovery and being able to utilize the assets we have here for the betterment of the community,” the mayor said. “After the end of these four years if I can look back and see the results of our hard work, it will be worthwhile.”

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