WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Voters in Warner Robins have elected a new mayor. LaRhonda Patrick beat incumbent mayor Randy Toms in a runoff election Tuesday.
- She received 4,559 votes, or 51.85% of the vote.
- Toms received 4,234 votes, or 48.15% of the vote.
- In all; 8,801 people cast their ballots -- 17.54% of registered voters in the city.
Patrick, who is currently the Fort Valley city attorney, grew up in Warner Robins. She told 13WMAZ when she qualified in August that she worked at the Georgia State Capitol in college and thinks politics has a big impact on the community.
At the time, she said her goals included making Warner Robins a smart city, bringing in more business to create jobs, and increasing recycling.
“It's time for us to start thinking forward thinking innovation, industry, and improvement that's going to evolve us to the next level so that 20 years from now, our downtown doesn't look the same, our parks don't look the same,” she said.
As the campaign went on, 13WMAZ sat down with the candidates for issue stories that addressed what voters in Warner Robins wanted to know. They included topics like growth, crime, and the city’s downtown. Here are her responses…
Patrick said city resources could do a better job keeping up with the growth.
“I don't want to wait until we're having even more water leaks than we have currently and even more flooding in areas than we have currently before we take a serious look at this issue. Let's be proactive and fix the issue now before it gets way out of hand and costs taxpayers money,” said Patrick.
Patrick said educating youth early is the best approach. The same way they learn mandatory subjects in school, she thinks crime should be on that list. She also said she wanted to revamp neighborhood watch.
"If our children don't know and our adults don't know, how can we expect them to do better if they don't know better? So, proactive crime prevention, that I have a whole plan and a whole system for this with educating in a creative, fun way, so that children can remember it, and they can carry it with them into adulthood,” she said.
Patrick said she wants more than a downtown area – a similar space can be located elsewhere in the city.
“Live, work, play mixed-use communities. It can be in the downtown area, it may be in a city center, which means it's not downtown, but we located another part of our city to kind of have that downtown feel,” she said.