Four seats on the Eatonton City Council are up for re-election in the Nov. 2 municipal general election. Three are unopposed, but the seat for Ward 3 will be a race between Councilwoman Janie Reid (incumbent) and Karen Henry-Garrett.
In her three and a half years in the area, Garrett has observed issues such as the state of Jimmy Davis Park, drainage problems in the Pleasant Hill area and the county deputies’ lack of body cameras – all of which she has worked to raise awareness of, and all of which she would like to address.
One item Garrett feels she would place on her agenda is ensuring that the younger generation is mentored.
“We talk all the time about our youngsters and our youth, and they are our future,” Garrett said. “Every field we look in, they are our future. We talk about this all the time, whether it’s in education, whether it’s in science, whether it’s in agriculture … the world belongs to our kids, and so it’s our duty to mentor them to take the next step, and that applies to government as well, as far as I’m concerned, and in this case, it applies to local government.”
Garrett feels not mentoring the youth leads to them not filling roles such as city council seats, which leads to entrenchment.
Garrett strongly believes that the youth should be encouraged to get involved and learn that their voices matter.
“I think that maybe that’s a piece of what’s missing right now, and that’s why we’re seeing seats that have not changed … we’re talking 12 to 15 years with the same person in the seat, [and] I just don’t agree with that. I don’t think it’s healthy for any place, if you want [it] to grow, that you sit with the same people for that amount of time.”
Garrett said she is not trying to knock anyone or say that they’re not doing good work but nevertheless thinks the door should be opened to the younger generation and their ideas.
The goal isn’t to change Eatonton, but to improve it, and sometimes a fresh pair of eyes are needed, Garrett said.
In her four years as a council member, Reid has brought a number of issues before the council for consideration, the following of which passed unanimously: creating a promotional video for HGTV Network’s Hometown Makeover, implementing the Eatonton Youth Council, hosting Congressional teams representing senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, serving as chairperson of the Eatonton Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH) program and lining the streets of Downtown Eatonton with banners to celebrate the classes of 2020 who could not graduate in a traditional ceremony.
Reid referred to the work of the Eatonton City Council as a team effort, and spoke highly of her fellow council members.
For the next four years, Reid will continue building and fostering relationships that will further move Eatonton forward.
Reid commented that her term has been an exciting and fulfilling journey, and serving alongside the council and mayor “has been an absolute joy, because we’re a team and we all are excited to call Eatonton home.”
Additionally, Reid said, “I am honored to have the privilege to serve the citizens of this community and especially the wonderful people of Ward 3. I am your hometown girl, working for a better hometown. My experiences in local government, along with the relationships I have built throughout the years, make me qualified to continue to bring insight and advocacy for the growth of our community.
“I respectfully ask for your vote to re-elect me on Nov. 2, 2021, so that we may continue this journey of forwardness, inclusion and optimism.
“My goal is not self-serving, but I offer myself as a servant to be used for the betterment of all.”
Wards 1, 2 and 4 are also in the race, but are unopposed. Sitting council members are Bill Magnum, James Gorley and Teresa Doster, respectively.