Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard speaks during the lunch meeting of the Dougherty County Kiwanis Club Monday. Hubbard challenged club members to "become cheerleaders for the community."
ALBANY — Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard told members of a local civic club Monday that city and county leaders’ recent trip to the nation’s capital to meet with the region’s legislative delegation should pay dividends for the community.
Hubbard told the Dougherty County Kiwanis Club at its lunch meeting that she, City Manager James Taylor and Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard had a “very productive” meeting with Georgia Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie, and Johnny Isakson, R-Marietta, and U.S. Reps. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, and Austin Scott, R-Tifton.
“I was impressed with how well-versed Sens. Chambliss and Isakson, Rep. Bishop and even Rep. Scott, who is from Tifton but said he has constituents employed at our Marine base, were on Albany issues,” Hubbard said after the meeting. “They were particularly concerned with the Marine base and how it will be impacted by sequestration.”
Hubbard said the Albany/Dougherty delegation, which also included Washington-based federal lobbyist Marion Turner and Frances Krack, the leasing agent for the building that houses the downtown Albany post office who made the trip at her own expense to discuss pending closure of the facility, was able to spend quality time with elected officials, but lost opportunities to speak with top Marine brass and with U.S. Postal Service officials because of bad weather.
“Sen. Chambliss and Sen. Isakson were shocked when we told them how we’d been treated by the post office,” Hubbard said. “When we told them we hadn’t even been contacted (about the pending closure), they said they intended to look into the matter further.
“We also discussed with them ways we might expand services at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany to guard against any future closure threat. We talked about the possibility of locating a National Guard training center on the base and about bringing a veterans clinic there.”
Marine Corps officials told the Albany/Dougherty delegation they planned to visit the base soon to discuss issues important to the community.
Hubbard said the local leaders also discussed the threat that sequestration had brought to the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport.
“Certainly our airport is important to the increasing number of people who fly out of here every day, but any cost-cutting measures that impact the (air-traffic control) towers also impact our region’s status as a distribution hub,” she said. “If they make cuts in the towers, it jeopardizes UPS and Fed-Ex deliveries to this region. Our airport is the second-largest distribution hub in the state.”
Hubbard challenged the Kiwanis Club members to “become cheerleaders for your community,” offering a list of local positives that she said would help them in their quest.
“I’ve talked to a number of outside people who come here and say how much they love our community,” the mayor said. “They don’t understand why they hear so much negative from people in the community.
“Albany and Dougherty County have a lot to offer and a lot to be thankful for. I challenge you to change your mindset; find out about the good things that are happening in our community and spread the word.”