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Election 2017: Lula mayor faces 2 challengers in bid for 5th term
Election

Lula voters have a decision to make — keep the course with Milton Turner, who has been mayor for the past 16 years, or turn to someone new.

Offering voters a choice Election Day Nov. 7 are Felton Wood Jr. and Jim Grier, who think it’s time for new leadership and a different path forward for Lula.

Lula mayoral race

When: Early voting begins Oct. 16; Election Day is Nov. 7.

Where to vote: Lula City Hall, 6055 Main St.

Turner said his long tenure is not a political liability for him, but rather a strength.

“I have a history to go on,” Turner said. “(Voters) can look back and see what’s been accomplished. I’ve done all this with the council, it’s not just me, and we’ve done all this without a property tax. I believe in moving slow and methodical.”

Wood said that in the more than 20 years he’s lived in Lula he takes pride doing everything he can to help people and make the town a better place. Wood points to a plaque given to him in January by Turner and the  City Council to recognize his service to the city.

The award recognizes Wood for his “diligent service ... to the benefit of others in a tireless effort of providing strong sound leadership by example …”

Wood said that as mayor he would be more active and visible than Turner. He said the mayor is too dependent on City Manager Dennis Bergin.

“It’s an honor to serve our community in any capacity,” Wood said. “It would be a greater honor to serve the people as mayor.”

Grier said he’s worked well with Turner and the council during the seven years that he chaired Lula’s Downtown Development Authority. He just thinks he brings to the table a business and goals-oriented approach that he thinks is missing in the city.

“I’m really looking forward to doing some things to redevelop a sense of community here in Lula, build stronger connections between people and the business owners, and draw the community a little bit closer than it has been in the past decade,” Grier said. “We still need to develop a strategic plan that we can commit to and then move forward to reaching the goals put forth in that plan. To do that, we need the involvement of our citizens and get them involved, as well as the city council and businesspeople in the community.”

Candidates

Milton Turner

Age: 56

Education: East Hall High School grad

Occupation: Poultry farmer, real estate investor

Political experience: 22 years on Lula City Council, 16 years as mayor

Jim Grier

Age: 65

Education: Engineering degree from Georgia Tech

Occupation: Transitioned from engineering and engineering management to a career in real estate

Political experience: First time running for public office; served seven years as chairman of Lula’s Downtown Development Authority and is an active member of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce

Felton Wood Jr.

Age: 48

Education: Ninth grade at Newton County High School

Occupation: Self-employed roofing

Political experience: Mounted unsuccessful bid for Lula City Council seat in 2015

Turner said there’s been no bashing among the candidates during this campaign.

“That’s a good thing,” Turner said. “What citizens say out there, we know they’re going to talk and say stuff, but as far as the candidates, I have not had a disagreement with either one of the candidates.”

Turner said he can also point to successes to make his case for another four-year term.

“We have new businesses in town. Some have left and we’ve replaced those,” Turner said. “We have increased water lines throughout the town, lots of road paving. We’ve taken over the wellness park. We now have the depot. Those are some of the bigger things that stick out in my head.”

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