RICHLAND, Ga. (WRBL) — Richland Mayoral candidate Neola Alston is making history as the first black woman to run for mayor in the city. She held the third installment of her “Richland, Let’s Chat” series to talk to voters about her campaign platform on Oct. 5.
She announced her candidacy back in August and has hit the ground running ever since. Alston’s “Let’s Chat” events are opportunities for voters to ask questions, share concerns and address the needs of the city.
“This gives everybody the opportunity to talk directly to me as a candidate,” Alston said. “I don’t just tell them what I want to have happen, I allow them to tell me what they see is the need here and then I go out and find ways to execute.”
Tuesday night’s attendees included community organizations, activists and religious leaders from across the Peach State. Alston spoke to attendees about economic growth, preserving Richland’s history and providing resources for residents.
“I see us bringing a resource center right here where people can get utility help, where people can get bill help, educational grants — so people can get the funding that they need so they can further education… All we have to do is come together, be that unified city and then we will see that economic growth that we hope for,” Alston said.
Georgia gubernatorial candidate Al Bartell was also in attendance, endorsing Alston as a candidate.
“I came here to make sure the people were clear that she would make the best leader for this city,” Bartell said. “As a candidate for governor I wanted to make sure that I supported that, acknowledged that and established that as a reference point for history as we move forward into the 21st century.”
Alston says her experience as a U.S. Army officer has prepared her with the resilience needed for the campaign trail and for the role as mayor.
“My faith has made me strong — my ability and training has made me the best candidate for this office,” Alston said. I’m going to get the job done. I’m going to be there for the people.”
If elected, one of her campaign promises is to “make Richland rich again.”
“Richland has so much beautiful history,” Alston said. “What I would like to do is not only recognize the beautiful history that it has, but preserve the history, while inspiring the future. If we tell the kids where they come from and why they have a reason to be proud and what Richland used to be, they can know that it can be that again. That’s why I say let’s make Richland rich again.”
Two other candidates are running in the election, City Councilor Kenneth Josey and a retired state patrol officer Rossie Ross.