Two contenders battle incumbent commissioner for District 1 seat

Two contenders battle incumbent commissioner for District 1 seat

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Augusta's District 1 race is the most crowded in the field of commissioners with three contenders.

Candidates include the incumbent Bill Fennoy, businessman Michael Thurman, and the only woman fighting for one of the ten spots this cycle-Denise Traina.

District 1 has faced a hot bed of issues over the past few years, most notably, the substantial number of blighted homes and infrastructure troubles.

All three agree that something has to be done, but what that something is, is where you'll find the differences.

Commissioner Bill Fennoy said, "I am trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind-and I am your commissioner, and want to continue to be your commissioner!"

Fennoy said over the past three year's, he's most proud of working with planning and development to get nearly 50 blighted homes in his area torn down.

"That's going to be an ongoing issue," said Fennoy.

Challenger Michael Thurman agrees that the fix won't happen overnight.

But, said it shouldn't take years to see progress.

Thurman said, "Each street that's fixed up leads to a neighborhood that's fixed up, that leads to a town. We have to really focus our efforts and not just count on the government, but other non-profits."

Thurman has been rehabilitating abandoned homes since he was 18-years-old and rents the finished product out to residents.

He said he wants to see more business-minded conversations, and less ego-based bickering out of leadership.

"It seems like they have the hardest time getting along. We all live in the same town, so we should have a lot of the same views and a lot of the same goals," said Thurman.

That's exactly the opposite of the message put out by Denise Traina.

As the only woman running for commission, the physical therapist said folks want to see, and hear, more diversity.

Traina said, "Fifty-six of the workforce in Augusta, Georgia are female! So, why aren't we represented on the commission? We have this imbalance."

Traina has been a fixture in the Harrisburg community for years and says the key to helping Augusta grow is putting families in a position to succeed through reliable public transportation and fair wages.

"Once you've stabilized a family, you've stabilized a community and stimulated the economy and it's a win-win for everybody," said Traina.

Five commissioner's seats are up for grabs this election---only three are contested.

Copyright 2016 WFXG. All rights reserved.