WARD II: Love wants to fix City Commission disconnect

Albany Election Previews

Demetrius Love, the director of marketing at Albany State University, is challenging incumbent Ivey Hines and Bobby Coleman for the Ward II Albany City Commission seat. (Special photo)

Demetrius Love, the director of marketing at Albany State University, is challenging incumbent Ivey Hines and Bobby Coleman for the Ward II Albany City Commission seat. (Special photo)

ALBANY — Demetrius Love feels his campaign for the Ward II seat on the Albany City Commission has struck a chord with voters throughout the city, not just in that ward. Indeed, Love could argue, his campaign is sparking interest throughout the region.

“I’ve had people in Indian Creek and on Dawson Road (in West Albany) call me and ask for signs to put in their yard,” Love said. “I even had a lady from Sylvester call and request yard signs. That’s pretty amazing, but what’s maybe as amazing is that I had a professional lady call me and tell me that one of my opponents’ signs had been placed in the building where she works. She wanted to make sure I knew that was the landlord’s decision, not hers.

“That gives me chills just talking about it. And it speaks volumes about where this campaign is going.”

Love, the executive director of marketing at Albany State University, said he’s bolstered by the support he’s receiving, particularly in light of his opponents’ attempts to cast him as an outsider. Both incumbent Ward II Commissioner Ivey Hines, an IT specialist at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, and fellow challenger Bobby Coleman, a medical transportation specialist, have made mention of Love’s tenure in the city during their campaigns.

“That’s surprising to me,” Love said. “I came to Albany State in 1993 to play football and was here through 1998. I was in the Air Force, but came back to Albany in 2002 to teach at Monroe High School. I’ve been in Albany for 16 years now, and that’s enough time to know what’s going on in this community. I certainly feel that I have an overarching view of the issues that face the citizens of Ward II and of Albany in general.

“I believe I have a complete grasp of the whole pie here, not just one slice. When my wife and I decided that we would make Albany our home, I told her then I wanted to be part of the solution for this community. That’s what I’ve tried to be.”

Love certainly has been involved in the community. He’s been appointed to represent the city on the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission, and current Mayor Dorothy Hubbard named him co-chair of her Economic Development Advisory Coalition. Love has served as a community volunteer on stop-the-violence and mentoring programs, and he was named to serve as a member of one of three Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission task forces.

Love has also completed Leadership Albany and the Georgia Economic Development Academy programs.

“When others have criticized me during this campaign, I don’t respond,” he said. “I let my campaign hang on the work that I do. I think my involvement in the community allows me to understand more clearly what’s important to the people here.

“I’ve talked with the people on Blaylock, Roosevelt, Residence … all the streets throughout this ward. I’ve listened to their concerns. It doesn’t matter if they want to talk about alley paving, Public Works issues or tree limbs and grass in their alleys. It becomes a simple matter of them getting in touch with me by phone or by social media, and I’ll schedule a meeting. My campaign theme is ‘Inform, Engage, Represent.’ That’s the way I intend to serve the people of this community.”

Love said his desire to “knock on doors” and call his constituents “by name” has opened his eyes to the pressing needs of Ward II and the city in general.

“I tend to look at the city through a kind of SWOT analysis; I look at what Albany has to offer and what its weaknesses are,” he said. “One of the obvious things that concerns the people here is jobs. People need to get back to work. Giving them opportunities to find jobs that allow them to pay their mortgage and maybe enjoy a movie every now and then answers a lot of questions. That’s how you address our significant crime issue, by putting people back to work.

“I tend to take probably the most holistic approach to Albany’s future. I take a broader view, less like playing checkers on the front porch than playing chess in the park. When you do that, you’re more equipped to take on our health care and budget issues. It’s more of a bird’s eye view.”

Love said the fact that he would, if elected, become the youngest member of the seven-member commission offers no special challenges.

“My campaign is not about young and old,” he said. “It’s about understanding all the needs of our citizens. I’ve had several seasoned citizens tell me they would welcome positive change in the community and in my ward. There are individuals out there who are not so much interested in erasing as they are plugging in. These people are part of a huge disconnect with our government.

“The voters in our community are looking for someone to make sure they’re in the loop. The way information flows from the city, decisions are already made before our citizens even know what’s going on. They want to be part of the process. That’s what being a representative is about. It’s not what Demetrius wants, it’s what the people he represents want. I may personally want one thing, but I am looking to be elected by and to represent the people of Ward II. What they want is what matters.”

Love said his decision to run for political office had nothing to do with ego, everything to do with making the community better. He said he’s ready and willing to back that claim with action.

“I have a lot of respect for the incumbent and for the other candidate running in this race,” he said. “If the people of Ward II select either one of them for this office, I will work with that person to make the city better. When more people step to the table with the city’s best interest at heart, it makes for better accountability. That’s when the people win.

“Time’s going to tell whether I’ve been able to get my message out to the people well enough for them to put me in office. But if things don’t go as expected, I’ll still be at the table. I’ll keep providing all the services I can. I live here; Albany’s my home.”