Q&A: Mayoral candidates talk election, underage drinking and Georgia Southern’s future at town hall forum

Statesboro mayoral candidates answered community-submitted questions during   a public forum at the Transitions Learning Center on Monday evening. Photo by Brett Daniel. 

Brett Daniel

Incumbent Mayor Jan Moore and electoral opponents John Grotheer and Jonathan McCollar answered community-submitted questions during a public forum at the Transitions Learning Center on Monday evening.

Each candidate answered a total of 10 questions with a two-minute time limit for responses. The forum comes less than a month away from the election on Nov. 7.

The following are their answers to questions regarding underage drinking, Georgia Southern University’s future and next month’s mayoral election.

Q: As you know, we’re in a community with 20,000+ young people at Georgia Southern, plus a number of others at Ogeechee Technical College. What is your approach to underage drinking in the city of Statesboro?

Grotheer: I’m clearly against underage drinking. There’s nothing good about it for the community or for the young people who could possibly hurt themselves or someone else.

McCollar: As a community, what I believe is that we got to set clear boundaries. In these boundaries, we got to set clear ordinances to increase the safety of our young people within this community. Those individuals that are drinking underage and those that are serving underage drinkers should definitely be penalized to the fullest extent of the law.

Moore: This is what I tell my police staff every single day. This is what I tell the folks that own restaurants and bars. At the end of the day, if [minors] choose to break the law in Statesboro, Georgia, you are still going to keep them safe. That is your job. I don’t want to hear about another young person losing their life in a bar here again.

Q: How will you factor in Georgia Southern University in your future plans for the city of Statesboro?

Grotheer: I don’t see Georgia Southern as being ‘them’ and the city being ‘us.’ We’re all one. We need to embrace them and support them and collaborate with them on key issues, whether it be infrastructure, natural resources or economic development. They are a big part of this community and if I’m mayor, I will support them 100 percent.

McCollar: I’m born and raised in Statesboro and I’m a double Eagle. I don’t see a boundary between myself and the students that are out there on that campus because at one point I was a student out there on that campus. We got to elect a mayor that has a plan specifically and purposefully to bring this city together. I am that individual.

Moore: I think you might be surprised how much students do work within our community. Georgia Southern students do feel like a part of this community and I’m glad they are here. Do they need to be more of a part of our community? Perhaps, but they’re not going to be until we give them a reason to be, and we need to give them a reason by bringing things into town and downtown that they want to do.

Q: Why do you think you would be the best candidate to be elected on election day?

Grotheer: I believe the city should lead the collaboration efforts among the city, county, GS and the Board of Education on planning issues. It should promote sustainable growth, including wise management of our infrastructure, natural resources, education, recreation and economic development.

The city should also encourage and protect single-family neighborhood development. Mixed used development should be encouraged, which supports a walkable and viable downtown.

I believe the mayor and council should be fiscally responsible and accountable to the taxpayers. The city budget should, therefore, reflect the priorities of the community that are established with input from all the citizens.

I am genuinely committed to serving the city of Statesboro full-time and believe me, my background in city and county government has prepared me to serve as your next mayor. If given the opportunity, I will give you my commitment to listen and to be your voice as we work together to plan for a better future.

McCollar: I am running because I believe this is a unique time for our city. I believe that all of the experiences that I’ve had within my life – the ups, the downs, the trials and tribulations, the successes and the achievements – have made me uniquely prepared to address the issues that we’re really facing.

For the past few years, when I’ve run for office, I’ve always put forward a platform that addresses the issues of the day. Statesboro, our future is in your hands. Years ago, I said gangs were going to be an issue in our community and here we are. Years ago, I said poverty was going to be an issue within our city and here we are. Years ago, I said the tax base is overburdened and is not producing enough revenue so that we can do the things in a fashion to execute the well-being and quality of life of people within this community.

Rosalynn Carter stated that a good leader takes you where you want to go, but a great leader takes you not necessarily where you want to go but where you ought to be. And that is us coming together to put the people over politics.

Moore: Four years ago, I stood in front of you and said that I would accomplish the following things:

  • A return to open and transparent city government. I have done that.
  • Stabilization of the city’s financial condition. I have done that.
  • Re-development plans for two of our main entryways into the city – South Main and West Main. I have done that.
  • Job creation in our industrial park and within the city, resulting in a much lower unemployment rate. I have done that.
  • Restore great working relationships with the county, Georgia Southern University, the Bulloch County Board of Education and the Development Authority. I have done that.
  • Get the word out around the state about Statesboro and what it has to offer, as well as bringing resources back to our city. I have done that.

And this is what I plan to do the next four years:

  • Bring recreational activity back into our parks for the people of our community that live near them.
  • Find a way to bring water recreation back into the city for the people of the community.
  • Bring in some form of transportation from our city to our industrial park so that people in our community can take advantage of the job opportunities that are waiting for them.
  • Staff a police force that is more representative of the diversity within our community.
  • Recruit innovative business and retail into our community.

I believe in results. I don’t deal in rhetoric because at the end of the day, nobody cares what you say. They only care what you do. A vote for Jan Moore is a vote for proven results.

Forum coming to GS campus:

A second mayoral forum is scheduled to be held in the Russell Union Ballroom on Nov. 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

To view the full town hall forum and to hear other topics discussed, please click here.