Candidates face West Point residents at forum

Jennifer Shrader Staff writer

October 23, 2013

West Point residents got their chance Tuesday night to hear from six of the seven candidates for three at-large seats up for election Nov. 5.

“There will be a new council coming in Jan. 2014 and I want to be at that table,” said Joe Downs, incumbent councilman. “I have the experience and I’m an independent thinker.”

Downs and several other candidates said they want to see the city fund both Hawkes and Bradshaw libraries, a continual debate each fall as the city prepares its budget.

Demarcus Heard, the youngest candidate at 25, said he wanted to see more affordable housing options for residents and more mentor programs for youth. Heard is a resident director for Dream House Youth Services, a LaGrange-based group home for young boys.

Harry Hudson, a former firefighter, said he wants to see the city grow.

“There’s money out there that can be used to bring in more people,” he said. Hudson would like to see more recreation and more business.

“My phone number will be published and my door will be open,” he said. “I want to work for everyone. It’s the city workers that make the city go.”

Gloria Ramsey Marshall said she’s already represented the city for two years, filling the unexpired term of former Councilman Darren Kelley.

“I want to continue our efforts at redevelopment, housing and education,” she said. “I’d like to see Hawkes and Bradshaw libraries both funded. They’re both needed. I’m not a politician. I want to continue to work for the welfare of all the citizens.”

Sejuana Scroggins said she’s a political newcomer and mother of three. She’s also been a foster parent to more than 20 children.

“I am a citizen as well as a candidate,” she said. “Education is one of my goals. Kids need to realize they need to go further than just high school.”

Steve Tramell, a downtown business owner, said he wanted to be part of the city’s growth.

“We’re just beginning our most dramatic period of growth in years,” he said. “There has been a vision laid out and we want to follow it.”

Candidate Willie B. McCarden was not at the forum after notifying the Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, forum sponsor, that he was out of town Tuesday.