Four more years
Politics is a strange game, never more strange than 2017. I would not begin to offer any thoughts or reasoning behind all the many unusual occurrences since President Trump took office seven months ago. I will leave that to the talking heads on both sides that give their opinions non-stop 24 hours a day.
Instead, I want to give my reasoning behind my own decision to run for re-election as Mayor of Donalsonville. I would never write such an article if I had opposition, as that would give me an unfair advantage. But since the good citizens of Donalsonville have allowed me to run unopposed, I feel there would be no objections to me offering my take on local politics.
Being Mayor was not a position I aspired to achieve. After serving as Chairman of the Seminole County Commission and State Representative, I felt I had my fill of politics. Never again was my state of mind for many years.
Encouraged by many good friends, I decided to run in the last election. My very worthy opponent ran a clean, honest campaign. She congratulated me on my two vote win and has consistently offered her encouragement during the three years and eight months I have been in office. Our state and local politicians could learn a lot from the graceful concession of Twynette Reynolds and her ongoing support of me as Mayor after the election.
Still, I was not inclined to run after this four year term. Despite being proud of the accomplishments of the city during this time, I felt that it might be time for someone else to take the reins as Mayor.
Sometimes, however, you have to just trust your judgment. Donalsonville is enjoying a lot of success and is poised for even greater achievements in the months and years to come. Make no mistake; to be able to say we are making progress when talking about a small rural city in Georgia is no small feat. We are on the map and our future is full of possibilities.
It would be silly and misleading for me to take any significant amount of credit for Donalsonville’s positive movement. That recognition goes to a long list of citizens who have put their personal preferences aside for the greater good of this community.
I have had the opportunity to serve with a city council of six that has almost always been on the same page. As Mayor, I have only had to vote once to break a tie. It was a matter of such small significance that the entire room broke into laughter when they realized I was actually going to have to vote.
I have had the opportunity to work with a new City Clerk, Police Chief, Fire Chief and City Manager, all of whom bring dedication to their job. Our city is finding ways to say “Yes” to new opportunities for growth and improvement.
The marks of progress are all over town. Our new fire station will be open before the end of the year. In one of those bays will be a new fire truck, the first in 23 years. Our long planned internet project remains alive and is moving forward to fulfilling the dreams of providing superior broadband to our community. We are planning the first new city park in two generations.
We have tackled the nuts and bolts of running a community, from a new personnel policy, to updating our comprehensive land use plan. Just this past week, the council approved the process of updating our zoning ordinances, which have not been changed since the early 1980s. The entire computer systems of the city have been upgraded and consolidated.
There is much, much more to tell; successes that have already occurred and future plans that cannot yet be disclosed. I am proud of all of this and you should be, too.
But is it important that you realize the only reason any of this happened is because a group of people decided to put together their differences and work for the good of the city. That is what I am most proud of, the teamwork of public servants, employees and supportive private citizens that want to see the city succeed.
There is much more to accomplish and most of it is possible. I want to be around to see it happen. Thank you for your support and for the opportunity to genuinely say that I am looking forward to four more years.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org