The day was bright and sunny on the afternoon of Thursday, March 9 when LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton announced his plans to seek re-election in November to a large crowd of thunderous applause. This exciting announcement took place at the Chamber pavilion on Bull Street in front of a large crowd of well wishers and cheerers. After the announcement and the long lasting applause, Mayor Thornton took the time to share thoughts on his four years as Mayor and his plans for the future should he be reelected. In addition, this announcement came on the same day as the Mayor’s 44th birthday.
Mayor Thornton started by saying that he wanted to share this announcement with the community of LaGrange that has been supportive of him throughout his time in office. Over the past four years as Mayor, and the four years prior when Jim served on the City Council, he has been involved with so many incredible, wonderful things. The Mayor said that “La-Grange was a very special place to [him]. This is what matters, this is where [his] heart is, this is where [his] passion is, and this is where [he] hopes to be able to serve another four years in this particular position.”
In 2013 during his first run for Mayor, Jim had many goals. Among these goals were protecting the City’s finances, strengthen the local economy through recruitment and marketing, to keep the City safe by supporting local safety, expanding the accessibility and openness of government, and improving the quality of life for all of our citizens. These were the points that the Mayor directly focused on during his initial run and there is no doubt that he has reached and is continuing to further these goals, as he made a case for during the rest of his speech.
The Mayor spoke on how the city still has a balanced budget with no property tax and a large cash reserve and no long term debt. He also spoke on the numerous projects on industrial expansions including Duracell and Jindal Films, new retail with focus on the new stores and restaurants around the LaGrange Mall, the newly incoming Great Wolf Lodge, Sentury Tire which has a ground breaking this year, and the new Courtyard by Marriot on the Square.
Infrastructure was a big point for the Mayor as well, citing the Bull Street re-alignment, the Vernon Woods connector, the Country Club round about, the Hamilton Road widening project, and the Greenville Street bridge replacement. The Mayor also spoke on public safety and how over the course of the past two years, the City has added nine new police officers to the LaGrange Police Department. He also spoke on how easy it is to get in touch with and stay in touch with the local government, event speaking on how all of the City Council meetings are now televised.
These are just a small few of the ever growing list of things that the Mayor and City Council have accomplished these past few years, with too many ongoing projects to even begin to list. The Mayor really summed up the City and its accomplishments best when he “La-Grange has emerged as a leader in how a small town can embrace the 21st century and how a small town can become an inspiration for other communities around the South East and around the Country about how things can be done, how you can bring the community together, how you can solve problems, [and] where no one cares who gets the credit.”
The Mayor did reveal that he had been approached by some people that he greatly respects about running for the Georgia State Senate and that he stepped back to think about what he could do to best serve this community. After some thought and reflection, the Mayor said that he has no questions: LaGrange is what matters to him and where he wants to be. He also showed off a cool new concept for his campaign by giving out packets of wild flower seeds for everyone to have a plant with the mantra of grow with us. The election for the Mayor’s position will be voted on this November along with three other seats on the City Council.
Jeremy Andrews Staff Writer