BNJ: Please provide a brief background/biography of yourself.
Martin: My name is Jerry Martin. I’ve lived in the city limits of Winder for over 30 years. I’ve raised my children here and my grandchild. I’ve been blessed to own over 32 businesses and five of those have been within the city limits of Winder. I have a full understanding of how important it is for the city to support and attract local businesses. This helps with economic growth which helps the city as well as the citizens.
I am very strong in my faith. I lead with honesty and integrity. I always pray for guidance in all decisions that I make. I’m a registered Republican, but I understand that everybody has different political views and passions. My goal is to reach middle ground in an effort to move the city forward.
BNJ: Why did you decide to run for election, and what in your background makes you the most qualified candidate for this seat?
Martin: I want to be a part in making Winder a vibrant place for our citizens to enjoy. With my extensive business background, I fully believe that the government should be run like a business, which means before raising taxes we should look at budgets and where we can cut first to help streamline expenses. If we do end up needing to raise taxes, we need to have full transparency as to where these funds will be allocated.
I’ve learned that one of the key components in growing a business is being proactive. I feel that the current administration has been reactive instead of proactive in many recent decisions that have been made.
BNJ: What should the city’s approach to the continuing growth in population be? How can the city best position itself to handle the inevitable continued growth?
Martin: I believe the best way to handle the amount of growth coming our way is for the city, the Chamber of Commerce, and the county to START working together and come up with a plan that’s best for the overall community. Unfortunately they don’t see eye to eye on many issues, which makes it difficult to move our community forward. It is imperative to get everyone on the same page and working together to handle the growth coming our way.
BNJ: Aside from growth, what do you consider to be the top three issues the city is facing and will face in the coming years? If elected, how would you work to address those issues?
1. The increasing homeless situation is soon to be a big problem; unfortunately this is not on the city’s radar. At the rate we are growing, if we don’t get a plan together soon our homeless, the crime and drug rate will go through the roof. This is another area where the city should be proactive, not reactive. We will have to get support from local nonprofits to best handle this problem. I have a plan that will not only help with the homeless, but also help some of our local nonprofits.
2. Keeping a small town feel. Most of us moved to Winder because we love being part of a small town. How do we grow but keep that small town feel? How do we slow down growth? How do we get more people involved? These are questions that need to be asked so we can work on a plan.
3. Let’s not leave out traffic. Winder has had traffic problems for many years. The new bypass should help redirect some, but we still need to be looking at ways to relieve traffic downtown. The best thing we can do now is to keep the red lights synced on a monthly or even weekly basis. This should be a topic talked about at every council meeting.