ALBANY, Ga. -- Local restaurateur B.J. Fletcher pledged a renewed focus on job creation and tax breaks for businesses to supporters at the Downtown Farm Market on Tuesday.
Fletcher joins Ward 2 Commissioner Dorothy Hubbard, and local businessman Kirk Smith as people who have announced their candidacy to become the city's next mayor.
Albany Mayor Willie Adams has said he won't seek re-election when his term expires Dec. 31.
At a campaign kickoff at 2 p.m. at one of the downtown businesses she's helped get off the ground, Fletcher promised to work vigorously to lower Albany's unemployment numbers and make life good in the Good Life City again.
"I don't want to be Valdosta, I don't want to be Thomasville, I want to be Albany," Fletcher told the crowd. "... I want all of you to have a good life so that we'll have the Good Life City again."
Fletcher also challenged local industry to help their own cause and create 50 new jobs by the end of the week.
"If we can work with what we have, look to the industries that have stuck with us, go to someone like Miller Coors and say, 'Hey, can you bring in new product line?' That could mean 150 new jobs," Fletcher said.
"And for all of you people who haven't jumped ship, I'll promise to get every tax break possible and that I will work with the state and Congress harder than any local business leader has before," she said.
At Fletcher's announcement Tuesday were recognizable faces of the local tea party and conservative Republican movements that have embraced Fletcher's commonsense business approach to community activism.
While running for mayor will be Fletcher's first foray into public political office, she has grown increasingly active in the community.
She currently is a member of the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority and, in addition to her connection to the Farm Market, has business interests in the Dtown General Store, Cafe 230 and Ole Time Country Buffet.