Hubbard up for big challenges

In January, Albany will again crack a glass ceiling when former city commissioner Dorothy Hubbard becomes the first woman to serve in the capacity of mayor.

Hubbard, who finished 3 percentage points behind businesswoman B.J. Fletcher in the three-contestant race in the Nov. 8 municipal election, pulled out the win against Fletcher in Tuesday’s runoff, garnering 53.2 percent of the vote.

It was a hard-fought election between the two candidates. Either would have made a strong mayor for the city, and each focused her campaign on issues that are critical to our community — jobs and education.

Political campaigns can cause a strain between two candidates vying for the same office. Our hope is that this is not the case here. We hope that Hubbard and Fletcher, each of whom has good ideas for moving Albany forward, will work together in the coming years on making those ideas come to pass.

In fact, Hubbard will need to utilize all of her skills as a consensus builder to ensure Albany moves in the right direction. We have too few jobs, too much illiteracy, too much crime, too many births to single mothers, too much poverty, and dwindling political clout in Atlanta thanks to the shift in lawmaker districts after the 2010 census.

What it boils down to are two areas — jobs and education, which are inextricably entwined. Without a good education, it’s hard to land a good job. Without good jobs available, it’s easy to fall into the traps of crime and poverty. As poverty deepens and children are brought up without a solid foundation of educational values, education numbers drop. Businesses that can provide jobs look to locate in communities where they are sure they can attract an educated work force.

It will take a communitywide effort to move Albany back in the direction that resulted in it being the de facto capital of Southwest Georgia.

As mayor, Hubbard will have a much higher profile than she did as a commissioner representing one of six wards. With a strong city manager form of government, the mayorship is essentially a city commissioner at-large, but the office also places her in a position of leadership that sets the agenda for the City Commission, and she will be the face of Albany government. What Mayor Hubbard does over the next four years will have a lasting effect on the city she was elected to lead.

We wish her great success as mayor. A successful Hubbard administration will mean success for the city as a whole, and that success will spill over to benefit our entire Southwest Georgia.

There will be big challenges ahead. We believe that Dorothy Hubbard is up to meeting those challenges.