Following City Councilwoman Marianna Keesee’s announcement that she would not be seeking re-election to District 1 of the Tifton City Council, former businessman James B. “Jimmy” Carson decided to qualify for her seat.
Carson says he has always had an interest in politics.
“I’ve always been civic minded,” he told The Gazette. Carson said he began thinking that maybe he should run for Keesee’s seat. He discussed it with his wife, Sheila, who told him now is the time.
“We decided Tuesday that we would do it,” Carson said. He was the first to qualify for the District 1 seat.
“I want to give something back to the community, and I feel that with my qualifications I can do that,” he said.
When asked why should voters elect him, and what could he bring to the table as a new councilman, he replied, “I feel I can bring a business background to the council. I was co-owner of a (family-owned) business here in Tifton for many years, Carson Laundry. We were in business a total of 64 years. My brother and I co-owned it and managed it for 20-something years. I feel like I would bring a lot of business background to the council, and I think that’s really needed to have somebody with a business background. Currently, I’m semi-retired and I feel like I would have a lot of time to devote to the council and to the job.”
Carson is past president of the Tifton Kiwanis Club and currently is serving as treasurer on the Keep Tift Beautiful Board. He’s been an officer and is currently a member of the Tiftarea Coin Club, and is a member of First United Methodist Church.
Carson graduated from Tift County High School, and earned his associate’s degree in business from ABAC and earned his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Georgia. He then went to live and work in the Atlanta area for about 20 years. He returned home in 1994, as his father was in poor health.
Carson said what makes him stand out as a candidate is his business background, and he knows a lot of people in Tifton. He feels he knows how to work well with people.
“I think that’s a big part of it — being able to communicate and negotiate things and get along with people. I have the people skills to do that,” he said.
Carson noted he knows all of the council members and feels he can work well with them. He said he plans on getting out to meet with citizens in District 1. He wants to go door to door, as well as make calls, and ask locals to vote for him and give him a chance.
“It will be time consuming, but I think it’s important for the people to meet who they’re going to vote for,” he said.
Carson has worked in political campaigns but has never run as a candidate before.
He said he never realized the time involved in it, but “I think it’s real rewarding.”
If elected, Carson’s main concern will be rolling back on the recent 44.4 percent tax increase for the city.
Carson works part-time with USA Today. He and his wife have two adult children, Leslie Slappy of Tifton, who’s a registered nurse with Tift Regional Medical Center, and Lori Prince of Warner Robins, who works with the Houston County School System.
To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.