The people in Valdosta will head to the polls on Tuesday to select a new mayor. Last week, a judge ruled the election would go on despite the recent death of incumbent mayor James Rainwater, who was seeking re-election.
Both candidates vying to become Valdosta's next mayor say they have a plan to make the Azalea City even better in the 21st century. Voters will make history in Valdosta on Tuesday, as they'll go to the polls and elect a new mayor for the first time since 1988. The candidates say there are several issues they would quickly address once elected.
"We've got to get ready for a lot of things, we're already having a traffic problem, we definitely need to look at our environmental situation," says candidate Benny Mitcham
"Growth of course, we want good, smart growth, we want to take a new look at traffic, not only in a Valdosta sense, but in a community sense because we are growing at a rapid pace," says candidate John Fretti.
The eventual winner will have the difficult job of replacing the popular former mayor James Rainwater who passed away last month. But both candidates say they want to carry on Rainwater's vision.
"I think people should know that if elected, I plan to carry forth the plans the late Mayor Rainwater had started," Fretti says.
"We've been on a good road for the past several years and I want to see it continue to go that way," says Mitcham.
Both candidates say believe they have the edge it takes to become mayor.
"I'm a business owner and a business leader for the past 15 years, and that's given me a wonderful opportunity in this town," says Fretti.
"The people know me, they know my character, they know what I've done in the past and I hope they know I can still do a lot in the future," says Mitcham.
Both candidates are saying similar things, so it may come down to which candidate has the best support. A couple days following Rainwater's death, mayor pro-tem David Sumner was sworn in as mayor, and he will serve in that position until the newly elected mayor is sworn in January.