Four in the running for District 3 seat

Published 12:01 am Friday, February 8, 2008

VIDALIA — Concerns about streets, drainage and public servants have four candidates in the running for Vidalia Aldermen District 3.

District 3 is an at-large district, so instead of choosing one candidate from a field, voters will elect three of the four who are in the running.

Jon D. Betts

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An incumbent, Jon Betts said he decided to run for re-election because he believes he can still be a positive force for the city.

“I think I am and I still want to keep trying to do what I think is right for the city,” Betts said.

The district is largely in good shape, but Betts said he believes there is still some work to be done with the streets and with drainage.

After recent campaigning, Betts said he feels he has the support of the community.

“I appreciate the support I have had talking to people,” he said. “I still feel like the people want me to be there, and until that changes that’s what I will continue to do.”

Richard S. “Ricky” Knapp

Also an incumbent, Ricky Knapp said his decision to run was made because he still has concerns about the city and what might need to be done to help it with all of the talk of a recession around.

“I felt like we need some really thought out decisions being made on all levels of government, and I felt that was something I could offer,” Knapp said.

It seems like rising fuel costs have affected all phases of the city services, and that is something the city will have to deal with in the future, Knapp said.

“We need to do what we can to keep the cost of living down here in Vidalia,” he said. “We need to be keeping people living here and able to support their families.”

Bringing new blood into Vidalia is also important.

“We need to attract new residents somehow,” he said. “Maybe we have something to offer that other cities won’t be able to.”

Kathy Nunnery

The director of the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce, Kathy Nunnery said her decision to run in this election was fueled by her interest in the community.

“I think our district needs some leadership in making sure that all of our constituents are taken care of as they have problems, making sure that anything they think needs to be done is done as it needs to be done,” Nunnery said.

Making sure District 3 stays a good district with quality streets and drainage is also on Nunnery’s priority list, she said.

Police and fire department compensation are also important, Nunnery said.

“I want to make sure they get what they deserve in pay and benefits packages,” she said. “I know that has been an issue in the past, and I just want them to be paid well for the work they do.”

Maureen “Mo” Saunders

A 12-year incumbent, Mo Saunders said her decision to run again was fueled by an interest in the city and its economy.

“We’re doing a lot of work for jobs,” she said. “The city is growing by leaaps and bounds and I would like to see it finish before I don’t run again. You wouldn’t believe what it looked like when I was a little girl compared to what it looks like today.”

Some issues, such as taxes and utility rates, will always be a reality, Saunders said.

“Hopefully, we won’t have to have a tax increase for a while, and utility rates are on a downhill slide instead of an uphill climb.”

Continuing to address crime and drugs in the community are also important to Saunders, she said.

“Nothing is a quick fix,” she said. “It takes time whether it is a small issue or a large one.”

The important thing is that the elected board will be able to work together, Saunders said.

“The board has to get along and respect each other,” she said. “You can do a whole lot if you work together.”