COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Columbus City Council District 7 race pits a longtime incumbent against a well-known gay rights activist and a local businessman.
Evelyn "Mimi" Woodson has represented District 7 for 24 years. It is a job the retired U.S. Army Vet and Customer Service Supervisor at TSYS wants to continue.
When asked her greatest accomplishment in her six terms, Woodson said this: "Bringing the community together, the development. It's the most progressive district at this time and will continue to be."
But challengers, Colgay Pride Director Jeremy Hobbs and local Residential Designer Sia Etemadi, believe it is time for a change.
"I'm grateful for all the people who have come before me," said Hobbs, "but we have to learn and we have to make the choice and move forward and start the next chapter in Columbus, Georgia history."
Council hopeful Etemadi said, "I'm for the people. I'm gonna be honest, I'm gonna be open to the people," and that is why he thinks he is best for the job.
All three candidates say crime and jobs are among the key issues facing the district which encompasses most of Uptown Columbus running west to Phenix City and south to Victory Dr. and Fort Benning.
Moving forward Woodson says she will introduce more neighborhood programs to bring police and residents together.
"A chance where the community and public safety would get an opportunity to work with one another and get to know each other more and kind of adopt each other as one family," Woodson says.
Hobbs agrees that better relationships are key to solving the safety issue, but also wants to lower the burden on police by lessening the penalties for drug use and decriminalizing marijuana.
"We want to make sure police are out there doing what they need to be doing, not wasting their time taking somebody down to the jail for the third time that month and locking them up. It ain't working and we can't keep doing what they're doing," says Hobbs.
Etemadi wants to make sure state and federal funding is distributed fairly and that the poorer areas of the districts are not left out.
"All of these are part of the new concept we gotta work on to bring it up to the point that we can make it a safe and joyful neighborhood," says Etemadi.
And as the campaigning wraps up we asked the candidates what they want voters to know about the kind of leadership they will bring to the office.
"I love putting smiles on peoples' faces and I like making dreams come true and together we can make anything possible in District 7," says Woodson.
"I never give up I don't want to give up. I was born and raised in Columbus, Georgia and there's so much I want to do here. I love this city," says Hobbs.
"I want the people to know I'm gonna be for them. If they vote for me I would be there for them," says Etemadi.