Ward II Albany City Commission incumbent Ivey Hines said he wants to “energize” the voters in the ward for the Dec. 3 runoff election with Bobby Coleman. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)
ALBANY — In an effort to “energize” the voters of Ward II, incumbent Albany City Commissioner Ivey Hines held “Meet the Commissioner” rallies at Greater Second Mount Olive Church’s recreation center and at the Thronateeska Heritage Center over the weekend.
That energy, Hines said as the days before his Dec. 3 runoff with medical transport specialist Bobby Coleman dwindled to a few, will determine his future with the commission.
“I’m very pleased with the results of the election, but our work’s not done,” Hines, a minister and an information technology specialist at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, said. “I got the most votes during the (municipal) election, but there are more votes out there to get. My strategy for the runoff is to get as many voters as possible to go to the polls.
“To move this city forward, there must be a plan in place. And it has to be a plan the entire city can buy into. I have a plan. And I want an opportunity to execute that plan.”
Hines juggles his schedule to hold down his IT job, serve on the commission (“Without missing a work session or a night meeting,” he notes) and serve as pastor of Thunder Temple Missionary Baptist Church. Hines manages the schedule despite being left blind by a degenerative disease.
“A lot of people who look at my background and see my accomplishments are not aware that I’ve done what I’ve done while blind,” Hines said. “Certainly that generates plenty of inconveniences. One of the biggest is that I can’t just get in my car and go somewhere. I have to make arrangements to do so. If it comes into my mind to go somewhere or do something, I’ve got to figure a way to accomplish it.”
Still the Ward II incumbent, who is seeking his first full term in office after winning a special election to complete two years of a four-year term, said he’s managed to deal with his loss.
“When you live a certain way for so long, you learn to compensate,” he said. “It’s like when the doctor tells you you have to wear glasses. You have to make adjustments. There are certain things you can’t do, or you have to find a different way to do them.
“I have had people tell me they’re encouraged by my accomplishments. I think that’s a plus. If a person looks at me and says, ‘If he can do that, I can do this,’ and then does it, that’s a positive thing.”
Hines chose not to comment on Coleman’s accusation that at least one individual had offered to “assist” voters in Ward II in filling out absentee ballots and had marked those ballots for Hines even though voters had indicated they supported Coleman. The challenger said that’s one of the reasons Hines scored a 69-37 advantage in absentee ballots, a large enough difference to give Hines a narrow 21-vote victory in the election.
“I don’t know anything about that, haven’t heard anything about it,” Hines said.
While the incumbent says the issues that impact Ward II are foremost on his mind, his primary objective is to unify the entire city.
“Everyone’s always divided the city into little pockets: eastside, southside, westside, downtown,” Hines said. “But if any section of the city is left unattended, it harms the rest. If a person’s big toe is cut off, it impacts the rest of the body
“Ward II is a very diverse part of this city, and the way we can best improve the ward is to pull the entire city together. That’s going to take many unquantifiable and quantifiable efforts on a number of people’s behalf. And even though I hold regular town hall meetings, my number is in the phone book and I have a website, there is still chatter about accessibility. I want to make it clear that I am available to the citizens of Ward II.”
Polls in Ward II’s Palmyra Methodist Church, Sherwood Elementary, Phoebe Education Building, Jackson Heights Elementary and Albany Middle School precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day. The 5,550 eligible voters in Ward II will have an opportunity to cast early ballots at the downtown Elections office today through Wednesday.