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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Macon-Bibb County will decide on a new mayor in a runoff election. Early voting starts on July 20, and election day is August 11.
41NBC met with both candidates to hear what tops their campaign agendas.
The Fraternal Order of Police and other local public safety agencies have endorsed Lester Miller. He says public safety tops his priorities.
Miller says if elected, he wants to strengthen local law enforcement agencies. Currently, the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office needs 150 deputies.
“[We need to] get more people out there working. So we can relieve those officers working these shifts, have a better trained and qualified officer and a better-paid officer,” said Miller.
Candidate Cliffard Whitby says hiring more officers doesn’t solve the issue. He sees it as being reactive — not proactive.
Whitby says he created a six-point plan that includes reducing gun violence and expanding foot-patrol officers in certain areas.
“We completed six months of the year. We had 31 murders in Macon-Bibb County — totally unacceptable,” said Whitby.
However, both candidates agree that when it comes to policing, education is important for prevention.
Another concern — the impact of the pandemic and recovery effort.
Miller says one problem he sees with the current local administration is that leaders aren’t acting quickly. Also, they don’t have a task force to better inform residents.
Miller says he has experience in making quick, effective decisions as a member of the Bibb County School Board. He says they solve problems daily.
“I look forward to having a good task force put in place to do that involving everybody from all parts of the community as well as from health officials. We got to rely on the data from officials,” said Miller.
Whitby says if elected, he will study, evaluate, then put plans in place to keep residents safe during the pandemic.
“The number one priority has got to be as a top elected official in this community to make sure we provide the valuable information this community needs to keep themselves and their families safe,” said Whitby.
Both men expressed excitement for the August election day. They also remind everyone to go out and vote.
To vote in the August election, you must register by the July 13 deadline.