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Wilborn seeking return to City Council

COVINGTON - After nearly four years away from the local political scene, former Covington Councilman Charles Wilborn is back.

Wilborn announced Friday that he is running for the Post 2, West Ward seat, currently held by Hawnethia Williams.

Wilborn held the post for 14 years before losing his bid for re-election to Williams in 2005.

Wilborn said he's disturbed to see so many local stores closing down and wants to work with the Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Covington to change that and bring more retailers to town. Having worked on the Square for more than 40 years at Cohen's Men's Shop, Wilborn said he wants more amenities downtown, including a grocery store.

"We need to do something to bring this city back to life," he said.

Wilborn works part-time as a tailor and said he can't find the supplies he needs in Covington.

"That doesn't need to be. We need to get Covington on the move," he said.

If elected, Wilborn said he also wants to work closely with the Newton County Recreation Commission to start mentoring and other programs for youth.

Wilborn said his main goal is to be of service to the people of Covington, noting that when he was in office, he rode with sanitation workers and police officers around the community to get to know his constituents, something he would like to continue if elected again.

"I make myself available for the people. I'm for all the people," he said.

While Wilborn said he'll always have an open phone line and an open door for his constituents, one thing he won't do is make promises he can't keep.

"That's the reason a heap of people are elected, because they make promises they can't keep," he said. "I'm not making promises. ... I don't lie to the people. If I can't do something, I don't lie."

Wilborn said he will always be honest about the goals he wants to accomplish as a city councilman, but said those can only be achieved with the support of a majority of the council.

Wilborn, 69, was born in the town of Newborn and has lived in Newton County all his life.

He dropped out of high school to work on the family farm but earned his high school diploma at age 35 from Southwest DeKalb High School.

Wilborn has a nursing degree from DeKalb Community College and works as a tailor, a substitute teacher, a greeter at RL's Off the Square restaurant and a shoe salesman at a local store.

He is the past chairman and current member of the Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful Board of Directors and the Covington Kiwanis Club and serves on the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority Board of Directors and the Juvenile Court Review Panel.

Qualifying for the city's non-partisan election takes place Aug. 31 to Sept. 4 at the Newton County Board of Elections and Registration Office. The qualifying fee is $180.

Other council seats up for election are Post 1, East Ward, currently held by John Howard and Post 3, West Ward, held by Ocie Franklin.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.