ALBANY — There was a point a couple of years into his current term on the Albany City Commission that Ward V Commissioner Bob Langstaff had decided that he’d had enough.
If re-election qualifying had rolled around then, Langstaff is quite certain he would have opted out 12 years into his tenure on the commission.
But time has a way of changing things, and Langstaff said Friday, after discussions with his wife, his children, trusted friends and members of his church, that he has decided to seek a fourth four-year term as part of the city government.
“There was a point when I was sure I would not do this again,” Langstaff, an Albany attorney, said Friday. “But it was more about not having my kids see a lot of mud-slinging about their dad. They didn’t sign up for that. But I don’t think that’s much of an issue now.
“While talking this over with my wife, my kids and my church family, they understood why I’d had enough, but they were also supportive of my running again. My desire to take on some unfinished business is what ultimately led me to decide to seek re-election.”
Langstaff said the “unfinished business” he’ll be concentrating on if he returns to office includes overcoming obstacles associated with the Job Creation Fund that was the brainchild of the city’s Long-Term Financial Planning Committee, finding ways to cut the city’s budget and solidifying the future of the control tower at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport.
“The groundwork has been done on the Job Creation Fund,” the Ward V commissioner said. “But we haven’t completed the first deal through it yet. There are obstacles we’ll have to work out as we go along, but I’m anxious to see a current business expand or a new business locate here through use of the fund.
“I’m very concerned about our budget process. We’re using money to balance the budget that won’t be available to us forever. We’ve got to get serious about cutting expenses. And as a member of the Aviation Commission, I’m proud to see our new terminal up and running, but in addition to the construction stuff we’ve got to solidify our tower. We’ve got to either secure federal funding or find a way to fund it ourselves.”
Businessman Lane Rosen announced last month that he intends to challenge for the Ward V seat, but questions have arisen about his eligibility based on his residency. Rosen said Friday he will discuss his options with legal representation before qualifying starts Monday.
Langstafff said he welcomes Rosen’s — and any other potential candidate’s — challenge.
“In a town of 78,000 people, with 13,000 of them in Ward V, there ought to be more than one person running for that commission seat,” Langstaff said. “I have discussed Lane’s situation with him, and I don’t know how that might play out. But he and I have talked about it, and we are determined to conduct the campaign as gentlemen.
“Lane running is a good thing, but my concern is that he find out as soon as possible if he’s qualified. I don’t want to ask people to give their hard-earned money (as a campaign contribution) and find out there is not a candidate running against me. There was a very nice gentleman running against me (in 2009) who had to drop out of the race when his wife became ill. I had already purchased signs with some of the contributions I’d been given, so I had to determine how much to return to the people who donated.”
Langstaff said Dunn Stapleton will again serve as his campaign manager, and he plans to start talking with constituents in Ward V soon.
“I want to talk with the people of the district, hear what their concerns are,” Langstaff said. “I think it’s important that I educate them on the reality of the city’s issues.
“I’m sure there are people out there who could do this better than I can. The question is whether they’re willing and able to do it. I’m looking forward to getting out there and talking to people. I want to serve them for another four years.”