ALBANY — Tracy Taylor says the major difference between himself and the other candidates running for the District 4 seat on the Dougherty County Commission has to do with action.
“They’re talking about the problems, just like every politician,” Taylor, a dental assistant, said of incumbent Republican Ewell Lyle and Democratic challenger Pat Garner. “I’m talking about ways we can fix them.”
Taylor, a Democrat who is making his first run for political office, does discuss ideas that no other candidate seems willing to touch, from suggesting a cut in the local tax rate from 7 percent to 6 percent to allowing alcohol sales on Sunday to keep “dirt-road bootleggers from taking tax money” to finding a way to moor a floating gambling casino in the waters of the Flint River.
“People try to act like that’s something bad, but gambling was a big part of this community at Radium Springs many years ago,” Taylor said. “I guarantee you if we sat down with the Emerald Princess folks and came up with a plan to bring a casino here, we’d create jobs and we’d stimulate the economy.
“We’ve got to be willing to be creative, to look for new ways to bring about economic development.”
While Taylor, who is studying law enforcement technology at Albany Technical College and plans to pursue a Criminal Justice degree at Albany State University, is a first-time candidate, he notes that he is no political novice. He worked on the 2010 campaigns of U.S. Congressman Sanford Bishop and state House Rep. Winfred Dukes.
“I’ve always been intrigued by politics,” the District 4 hopeful said. “This seat came up for re-election, and I felt ‘This is my district, people know me and I want to bring visibility to my neighborhood.’ So I decided this was the perfect opportunity.”
Taylor, who is the vice president of the Dougherty County NAACP chapter, said his campaign is getting a boost from small businesses in the community. He said he wants to return the favor by digging deeper into the city’s Business First program, which offers financial assistance to small business owners.
“I want to see how we might tweak that program and try to find other ways to assist our small business owners and entrepreneurs,” he said. “I believe I can have an impact on not only my district, but Albany and Dougherty County as a whole.”
Despite his relative youth, the 30-year-old Taylor said he’s more than capable of working with the other Dougherty commissioners to positively impact the community.
“I’m willing and able to work with anyone on the commission,” he said. “In everything I do, I’m always in a diverse atmosphere. My ideas are bipartisan ideas; they’re all about what’s best for the people of the community. My plan is to monitor current projects being considered by the commission and find the best way to incorporate my ideas.
“For the sake of the future of this community, it’s time for some new and young ideas. I believe I have the ability to unify the commission, to bring about these new ideas with no disrespect to the older commission members. There are a lot of things that some commissioners tend to dance around. I can bring them to the table.”