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Barbara Williams Beats Incumbent John Stumbo in Fort Valley Mayoral Election

by Amanda Smith

Councilwoman Barbara Williams ousted longtime mayor John Stumbo by 70 votes in the November 5, 2013 mayoral election in Fort Valley, Georgia. Both candidates had served 16 years in their seats as councilwoman and mayor.

A retired educator, Williams spent 40 years in the school system after attending Fort Valley State University. She served 18 years at Dooly County High School as the first female band director in the state of Georgia. Following her husband to Fort Valley when he became the Assistant Superintendent for Peach County, Williams served as band director at Fort Valley Middle School and later taught at Fort Valley State University. In 1989, Williams was elected to Fort Valley City Council where she served her community until she defeated Stumpo in the mayoral election.

Williams has a progressive vision for the future of Fort Valley. Among her plans are "dinner and a ride" in which the railway that has served Fort Valley for many years also serve as a nostalgic dinner and train ride, perhaps to Perry and back. She would also like to see more traditional restaurants where patrons can sit down to a good meal, rather than fast food. At this time, Fort Valley only offers two such restaurants - Mexican and Chinese. Williams would like to see the development of a recreational complex that would include a movie theatre, a bowling alley and other activities. Most importantly, she would like to create a Mayor’s roundtable that would include community leaders in education, religion and other areas in order to give the community more input into ongoing issues.

Williams takes office as Fort Valley's new mayor in January 2014.

Gwenette Westbrooks
Barbara Williams