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Wake Up Macon





Ponder Announces Run for Mayor


By Amanda Smith




Macon City Council President Anita Ponder chose Valentine’s Day at 11:00 am to announce her candidacy for Macon mayor in the upcoming election.  On the 16th floor of the Fickling Building in Macon, Ponder held a press conference to make her announcement and discuss her platform.


Anita received her Bachelors of Journalism/Communications from Florida A&M University in 1983 and her Doctorate of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas in 1986.


Holding the distinction of many firsts, Anita was the first African American female judge appointed to the Municipal Court in her hometown of Fort Valley, Georgia in 1998.  She resigned her judgeship to run for Macon City Council after serving four and a half years.  She is also the first female to serve as Macon City Council President and has served in that position for almost eight years.  In addition to the Macon City Council presidency, Anita is also the Director of Education at the Tubman African American Museum.  In 2006, she was selected by “The History Makers” in Chicago to be documented as an “African American History Maker.”  Recognition has come from many sources including one of the “40 Under 40” by Georgia Trend Magazine, one of the “50 Most Influential Women In Georgia” by the Georgia Informer, “Best Community Leader” by Cumulus Broadcasting, and one of the “10 Most Powerful People” in Middle Georgia.  Her many board and organizational affiliations are too numerous to name in this article.



Latrice Barron singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"


Wednesday’s press conference went smoothly, beginning with prayers by Rabbi Larry Schlesinger, Rev. Evans Brown, and Rev. Gail Smith.  Latrice Barron then sang a beautiful rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” followed by the introduction of Anita by local businessman Roy Fickling, who gave us Anita’s background and achievements and remarked on her general character.  “She is truly passionate about serving the public, not herself,” he said.



Roy Fickling


Anita began her speech by giving credit to Macon city councilwoman Elaine Lucas.  “She (Lucas) came to me 10 years ago and asked me what issues interested me.  I responded 'housing',” Anita said.  “Lucas then created a housing subcommittee and appointed me chairperson.  That small gesture changed my life.” 


Anita’s platform plans for the city of Macon if elected include forming a committee to hire a qualified chief administrative officer to oversee the day-to-day operations of the city; stressing public-private partnerships to obtain financing for capital projects, such as Parks and Recreation masterplan, senior citizens facility, riverfront project and working together with the city council and government officials to move forward and find common ground.



Anita Ponder describing her platform if elected Mayor of Macon


“Why do I want to do this?” she asked.  “We have three major dynamics in our community,” she answered.  “First, we have many people who are just trying to survive.  They live from one day to the next, their only concern the basic necessities in life: food, shelter, electricity, etc.  Most of these people don't have issues about downtown revitalization or riverfront development or other such matters.  Secondly, we have a dynamic that includes a lot of hard-working people who are trying to move this community forward.  This group is investing their money and resources in our economic development.  They are dedicated to attracting industry, rebuilding our community, and providing much-needed services to our citizens.  Last, but not least, we have a government that is well-intentioned, but  whose sincere concern and care are unfortunately overshadowed by "stuff."  This group, of which I am a part, works hard for Macon, but is often misunderstood," Anita explained.  "So this begs the question: Who has the leadership style that can transcend these differences and bring these groups together for the betterment of our city?  I believe in my heart that I am that person," she concluded.  "It takes everyone in the community working together to make these things happen."




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