With more work ahead, Columbus Councilor Julius Hunter asked supporters Friday to return him to Council District 3 for a fourth term.
“If you like the job I have done for the past 12 years, then I ask you to consider sending me back to city council,” Hunter said to about 40 supporters in Columbus Council chambers. “We have challenges but we are going to meet those head-on.”
The race for District 3 already has two announced candidates to face the attorney and former Recorder’s Court judge. Benny Parker, a lifelong Columbus resident and former aide to a Georgia Senator, and Bruce Huff, vice president of Charles E. Huff’s International Funeral Home Inc., have already announced plans to challenge Hunter, 58, for the seat.
Since he was elected in 1998, Hunter said he has tried to improve the quality of life in south Columbus. Creating an Environmental Court, placing a new recreation supercenter on Benning Drive, working with Columbus Housing Authority officials to improve Baker Village and supporting efforts in public safety are among some accomplishments cited by Hunter.
Hunter said he sought support for an Environmental Court after he was elected to the council seat. While serving as a Recorder’s Court judge, he realized there was a need for one court and one judge to hear cases dealing with overgrown weeds, junk cars in yards and other neighborhoods issues.
To improve Baker Village, Hunter said he worked with the city to locate the new recreation supercenter on Benning Drive. The center included a police precinct and senior center right across the street from Baker Village, a low income housing complex.
“What I did was champion the cause to put the new supercenter on Benning Drive,” Hunter said. “At the time, the city didn’t know where it was going to put it. Thankfully, we were able to get the city to agree to put supercenter on Benning Drive.”
That effort led to more conversations about revitalizing Baker Village. After learning about a new housing improvement effort in Louisville, Ky., and visiting the city, Hunter said he talked with the new Housing Authority director Len Williams in Columbus to see what was possible. Peabody Apartments was the first housing area approved for Hope VI grant from the federal government and Baker Village was later approved for revitalization.
The housing area has been transformed into Arbor Pointe apartments which are available to renters of varying incomes.“It is a beautiful area,” he said. “I think that is going to have a lasting and enduring effect.”
Shortly after the shooting death of Kenneth Walker during a traffic stop in December 2003 on Interstate 185, Hunter supported efforts to create the Public Safety Advisory Commission in 2004. He later tried to give the group more power but that effort deadlocked the 10-member council and failed with a vote from the mayor.
Walker’s mother, Emily Walker, was in council chambers Friday.
“Second to none,” is how Hunter described Columbus if he is re-elected and allowed to continue serving District 3.