STATESBORO — Eddie Deloach, the mayor of Savannah, spoke in Statesboro on Tuesday night on invitation from the Georgia Southern College Republicans.
Deloach is the 66th mayor of Savannah after serving as a commissioner from Chatham County’s 7th District from 1992 to 2000. His 2015 mayoral election victory toppled what was considered a Democratic stronghold, according to the AJC.
On the subject of higher education, Deloach said that the cost of education could present a big problem for GS students, and that they should consider the potential benefits before they attend college.
“It’s the cost of education that’s going to affect Georgia Southern students as well as every other student,” Deloach said. “People are going to have to really analyze the benefits of college going forward and see is this really what I want to do?”
Deloach said that housing and early childhood education were issues that Republicans in Savannah should take on responsibility for.
“Taking on responsibility for the help with community, for instance, housing like I talked about earlier, like early childhood education,” Deloach said. “I think the Republicans ought to lead the charge in that.
The mayor said that he had thousands of families that were looking for an affordable place to live. His solution is to buy up and tear down run-down and abandoned houses, take the property back and sell them over to private business to build new housing developments.
“I’ve got 9,000 families that are looking for a place to live that is reasonable for that community,” Deloach said. “We’re going to give these houses to private business and let them build those houses so we can start a new housing development for our people that live in Savannah. 9,000 need housing money. That’s not what Republicans talk about, but that’s what they need to talk about.”
One example of these new houses being built by private contractors was completed at 226 Cumming St. in West Savannah on Tuesday.
Jansen Killian junior political science major, and member of the GS College Republicans said that she agreed that affordable housing was a big issue for Savannah residents.
“I personally work on his campaign so just getting out there and being in Savannah on his behalf I have seen what he’s [Deloach] is talking about with the 9,000 families who need housing,” Killian said. “I think it’s very important that we get the families and put them in a place where they can kinda get their leg up.”
For the homeless in Savannah, Deloach said that a Kampground of America (KOA) style facility is a good solution for those people who don’t want to live in a house.
“A lot of these folks don’t want to go to a house, they want to stay in a tent, but they can’t stay in the situations that some of them live in,” Deloach said. “So we’re looking at the possibility of developing a program where we have those tent city type things where they want to stay where they are but then have it [the campground] in a facility…and make them keep care of it.”
Deloach said that students should be involved in city, state and even federal elections because office holders decide curriculum and funding for universities.
“They affect you, they really affect y’all because y’all get funding from that,” Deloach said. “So it’s a huge opportunity for y’all to make a difference in the funding of programs and what the overall curriculum is gonna be will be based on who yall put in office.”
Blaine Salter, junior political science major and chairman of the Georgia Southern College Republicans said on campus organizations like the College Republicans, the Young Democrats or the political science club are a great way to get involved in the community, the University and the political process.
“Once you start getting more involved in these clubs, you will start getting more involved in your community and in your university,” Salter said. “I encourage everybody to get involved in some way, shape or form.”
Salter also said that the College Republicans use professional political internships as a way to join the political process.
“What we are doing to help college students at Georgia Southern is to establish professional internships at the local, state and federal level,” Salter said. “This way they can not only be a part of the process, but to actually have an impact.”
Tatiana Joseph-Saunders, The George-Anne News Reporter, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nathan Woodruff, The George-Anne Managing News Editor,email@example.com