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Oxford held first-ever qualified candidates forum
Oxford forum
The Oxford Qualified Candidates Forum was held Monday night, Oct. 28, at Oxford City Hall. - photo by Caitlin Jett

OXFORD, Ga. — More than a dozen Oxford residents gathered inside city hall Monday night, Oct. 28, to meet the 2019 qualified candidates for the city of Oxford, who discussed their ideas for the future of the city and answered questions.

Running unopposed, the candidates for City Council — Lynn Branham Bohanan, Post 1; Georgia R. Holt, Post 2; and Laura McCanless, Post 3 — unanimously agreed unification should be in the future for Oxford, specifically being more inclusive with the north side of the city.

"We keep going back to Oxford as a whole. I feel like if we can accomplish Oxford being more of a whole — instead of a divided area — I think that would be amazing," Bohanan said. "I don't know if we'll ever have all areas coming together, but I'm in total agreement that if you're going to do it, you need to do it here. I think we can make Oxford a little more uniformed."

"I would hope that we can accomplish making Oxford a total walk of the city, that includes the entire city, within the next four to six years," Holt said.

"I would love more community engagement and everybody involved and feeling like they have ownership of what's happening in the city," McCanless said. "That can only lead to a really wonderful, healthy, vigorous community life."

Former Councilmen Michael Ready and David Eady are running for the mayor seat, formerly filled by Jerry Roseberry, who retired this year. Both candidates were asked to describe what they want their biggest four-year accomplishment to be if they were to become mayor.

The future of Oxford should be centered on safety, according to Eady, who plans on increasing the safety within the city limits.

"I would love to see that sidewalk, running from the northern city limits to the southern part of Oxford, lined with those nice streetlights that will make it a very inviting, safe place to walk and run," he said.

“I'm not jogging as much as I should lately, but I would often jog at night — particular when the weather was really hot — and I've fallen a number of times because of poorly lit sidewalks. 

"I've also seen folks that are nervous about walking on the sidewalks because they aren't well lit, and they don't feel safe."

Echoing the council candidates, Ready would like to unify the city, bringing both sides together as one.

"We really have to work on our connectivity of sidewalks from the north side," he said. "It's an underserved area, and those folks actually use the park. The park is a wonderful gathering ground, and we need to be able to build upon that."

Elections will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 5.