Jennifer Gude told Oconee County Democrats gathered in the Watkinsville Library on Tuesday night that she has decided to run for a seat on the Watkinsville Council to make a good city even better.
Richard Dien Winfield of Athens followed Gude to the front of the room, stating that he plans to announce in January that he is a candidate for U.S. House of Representatives from the 10th Congressional District to put forward what he called a “new social bill of rights.”
That seat is open now that Connie Massey has been sworn in as mayor to replace Charles Ivie, who stepped down on Monday for health reasons. Massey could decide to run again for her old Post 2 position.
Winfield said he will try to unseat Republican Jody Hice in the 10th Congressional District, which runs from the Atlanta suburbs to the Savannah River and from Athens nearly to I-16 on the south.
Chalis Montgomery from Bethlehem also has declared she will seek the Democratic nomination to oppose Hice, so Winfield and Montgomery would face off in a Democratic primary in May.
Gude, a “stay-at-home mom,” said she was motivated to run for the Watkinsville Council in part by a desire to have more Democrats involved in local government.
She said she wants to increase the number sidewalks in the city and develop bike paths. She also would like to see the city use solar energy.
Gude said she thinks Harris Shoals Park needs to be updated. The playground does not have equipment at the park for people with physical disabilities, she said.
“Watkinsville is a really great city already,” she said. “So it’s a little bit hard to improve. But we definitely can’t just sit where we are.”
Winfield, a philosophy professor at the University of Georgia, proposed a $20 per hour minimum wage, guarantees of collective bargaining for workers, and employee participation in corporate governance.
He also said he wants to tax accumulated wealth, provide “super medicare” for all, and offer affordable housing.
He also wants to guarantee equal access to legal representation.
Winfield said he will make an official announcement of his candidacy in January, when he takes a leave from the University of Georgia.
“If we are going to remedy the continued decline of freedom and justice in our country,” he said. “We need to fight for a new social bill of rights, the anchor of which is the true right to work.”
Recruitment Of Candidates
Party Chair Angie Eells asked Gude and Winfield to introduce themselves to the group meeting at the library. Twenty-four people were in attendance.
Tracey Wyatt, who has been working to recruit Democrats to run for seats in the four Oconee County cities, all of which will have elections this fall, said Gude was the only one to agree to do so at this point.
Qualifying is next week for the four cities, and elections are nonpartisan.
Watkinsville has two council posts and the mayor’s position up for election. Terms are two years.
Bogart has two council seats open. Terms are for four years.
North High Shoals has three Council posts up for election. Terms are four years.
All four seats on Council and the mayor’s position are up for election in Bishop. Terms are for four years.
The video below is of the entire meeting of Oconee Democrats.
Chair Eells paused the meeting before going into a formal business session. That gap has been eliminated in the video.
Gude started to speak at 16:28, and Winfield started his comments at 26:10.
The Oconee County Republican Party will hold its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 24 at the Thomas Cotton Gin on SR15 south of Watkinsville. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black is the speaker.