Council: Incumbent Mimi Woodson is victorious in District 7 race

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comMay 20, 2014 

Columbus Councilor Evelyn “Mimi” Woodson was victorious Tuesday in her bid for a sixth-straight term in District 7, fending off political newcomer Xavier M. McCaskey.

Woodson got 1,009 votes to 528 for McCaskey. That’s 65.56 percent of the votes cast live Tuesday in the race.

“First, I thank my Almighty God for making it possible, and the voters of District 7,” said Woodson, who watched the voting totals roll in at Millie’s International Market on South Lumpkin Road.

The councilor of Puerto Rican heritage said she was “very humbled and honored” to be re-elected to represent residents of the district that stretches from near Bibb City south to downtown Columbus and farther south to the Oakland Park neighborhood off South Lumpkin Road. She resides in Oakland Park.

“That pleases me very much because that’s what I want to do,” she said of her civic service that began only three years after she moved to the city in the early 1990s.

Woodson, 56, a supervisor at Columbus-based global credit-card and payments processor TSYS, has held the District 7 council seat since 1995.

Over that time, a number of city projects large and small have taken place in her area or are on the way. Those touted on her Facebook re-election page include completion of the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center; streetscape projects along Broadway, Veterans Parkway and Wynnton Road; phase one of the Oxbow Meadows project; relocation of Historic Westville to the Oxbow area; major improvements at the Interstate 185/Victory Drive interchange; Sixth Avenue flood abatement and street improvements; widening of Talbotton Road; and new skateboard and dog parks.

Asked Tuesday night what she hopes to accomplish over the next four years as a member of Columbus Council, she mentioned more job creation in south Columbus and taking proactive steps to get a handle on crime. She said the negative shouldn’t be ignored, but a renewed focus on the positive things in the area is needed.

“We’re always looking at the negative of south columbus,” she said. “Let’s focus on the positive things and the challenges we have, and let’s work together to change those challenges ... because we have so many good things happening in the district.”

In a recent question-and-answer session with the Ledger-Enquirer, Woodson said Columbus needs its current crime prevention director; does not need to consolidate any city law enforcement agencies; eventually could go to once-a-week trash pickup as recycling increases in the city; and thinks projects such as the aquatics center, city services building and ice rink are great quality-of-life facilities for residents.

Woodson also said in the Q&A that she does not see a need to hold a local referendum on lifting the city’s property tax assessment freeze.

“The voters approved the tax assessment freeze,” she said. “It has been challenged multiple times and has been upheld all the way through the Georgia Supreme Court. I respect the voters approval and the fact that it has been upheld in the courts.”

McCaskey, 39, has several occupations, including psychotherapist, addiction counselor and paralegal. He declined late Tuesday evening to concede the race until the early ballots had been counted and reported.

In the same recent Ledger-Enquirer Q&A, McCaskey appeared to favor taking a look financially at consolidating the Sheriff’s and Marshall’s departments; maintaining trash service two days a week to keep prisoners who work on the collection trucks “productive;” and maintaining the property tax freeze.

He also said any city facilities should be part of a “private venture” or, in some cases, through public/private ventures that include methods such as tax credits.

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