ALBANY — Anthony Jones knows he faces a formidable adversary in Dougherty County Commissioner Jack Stone as the two square off in the May 20 Democratic primary for the District 6 commission seat. But the political newcomer says he’s hedging his bets that the voters in East Albany are ready for change.
“I’m not talking about change for the sake of change,” Jones, who retired from his position with the University of Georgia Extension Service five years ago after a 29-year career, said of his race against the county’s longest-serving commissioner. “We need growth on the east side, we need economic development, we need jobs, we need new industry, we need for our people to feel safe.
“Sadly, except for what they get from the media, the people don’t know enough about our county government. They haven’t been talked to by their representatives. I intend to base my service on 3 ‘L’s’: listen, learn and lead. I’ll listen to our citizens’ concerns, learn everything I can about them and try and lead them through these concerns.”
Jones, who worked with the young people in Dougherty County’s 4-H program for 24 years before retirement, said his life has been about service. He points to positions with the Governor’s Highway Safety Task Force, United Way, the Friends of Chehaw and as Sunday school teacher at Christian Life Missionary Church as examples.
“Through the work we did counting drivers using seat belts, the state eventually passed a mandatory seat belt law,” Jones said. “Through collaborative work with United Way, the city of Albany initiated its 311 non-emergency number. And Friends of Chehaw is now moving toward more self-sufficiency.
“Service to others is my calling. I want to work collaboratively with other members of the commission to make our community stronger. This is bigger than me. It’s bigger than you. It’s bigger than any individual. This is about the people’s business. It’s about creating one Albany and one Dougherty County, about seeing that everyone gets an equal share of the pie.”
Jones said he’s been encouraged by the reception he’s gotten from voters while “walking the cracks and crannies of the district.”
“I’ve been to places I’d never been on streets I’d never heard of,” the District 6 hopeful said. “The people in the district have welcomed me and talked with me about the issues that concern them. Even if things don’t go my way in this race, I’m so thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given to meet and talk with them.
“I want to be a part of the County Commission to represent the people who live in this community. I do business on both sides of the tracks, and I plan to represent everyone: Democrat, Republican, Independent, whatever. If people call my number, I will talk to them. If I’m not able to help, I’ll direct them to someone who can.”
As the days leading to the May 20 vote wind down, Jones said he’s practical about the election.
“In politics, there are two votes you can depend on: Your own and the man who says he will not vote for you,” he said. “Commissioner Stone still has some loyal constituents, so I’m working hard. I placed my bet in February. I hope to collect on it in May.”