Dee Berry: Youth and veterans important
by W. Winston Skinner
For Grantville candidate Dee Berry, lots of issues somehow touch on the town's young people.
She already spends much of her time trying to guide young people and give them opportunities. She also feels the council members - as representatives of the town's citizens - should set a good example for the youth.
Berry is one of six candidates running for the Grantville City Council post currently held by Rochelle Jabaley, who is among those running.
'I decided that I could make a contribution,' Berry said. For more than 10 years, she was city clerk in Seaside, Calif.
'I felt like I could do some things to help the city move forward,' she said. 'It's struggling right now.'
Berry has lived in Grantville since 2006. Her sister sells real estate and brought her to town to see historic Bonnie Castle. 'She knew I was looking for a historical home,' Berry said. 'I liked it right away.'
Berry expressed concerns about the city not having a clear audit and how that keeps Grantville from Qualified Local Government status. QLG status is required for many grant programs.
'I feel like if we could do that, we could do a lot of things, make a lot more services available to the citizens,' she said. There also are 'issues with our budget,' Berry said. 'I'd like to see that get resolved.'
Berry said Grantville has lots of potential - with land available near the interstate exit. She noted some residents like the current bedroom community status of the town, while others want to see more growth.
'We're a gateway to neighboring cities. We can work with what we've got and spruce up the downtown area,' she said. She would like to see the town attract businesses that would help residents such as a grocery store, bank and pharmacy.
'I think all of that is doable,' she said.
Her husband is a 100 percent disabled veteran who received a Purple Heart. Shining a light on those who have served in the military - working 'for them to get the recognition they deserve' is important, she said.
She noted there is an active Grantville Veterans Association. 'I'd like to see that flourish,' she said. 'Everybody can rally around that cause.'
Berry is semi-retired and is a student at Brewton-Parker College's Newnan center. She is an active member at Greater Jehovah Baptist Church, where she works with the youth.
'I enjoy that,' she said. 'The youth - they're our future. What I can do to mentor them and to give them some opportunities, that's what I enjoy doing.'
Her race for council is tied up with her concern for young people. The council, she stated, should set an example for the next generation of leaders.
'We should always keep that in mind - that we're the leaders,' Berry said.
'I don't have any personal agenda. I'm open. I'm available. My word should mean something,' Berry said.
If elected, she hopes to play a role in helping council members work together. 'We can agree to disagree,' she said.
'Grantville has a bright future. We can put all that negativity behind us,' Berry said. 'This is a new day.'