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Municipal election: Williams seeking 2nd term

COVINGTON - Covington City Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams said she wants to be elected to a second term so she can continue working hard for the residents of her district.

Williams, who represents Council Post 2, West Ward, qualified this week to run in the Nov. 3 Municipal Election.

"When I came on board, I said I would work hard for Covington. I've continued to do that, and I will continue to do that because I know this district especially needs a sensitive person that the community can identify with and know this person loves the community," she said.

A Covington native, Williams was raised in the district she serves.

"My concern is that I do what I can as a council person to effect positive change in the community, and I know that I have done this ... I have a passion for what I do," she said.

Among her accomplishments during her nearly four years in office, Williams is particularly proud of her work on housing initiatives addressing blight in the city.

She is a member of the city's housing team that created the Urban Redevelopment Plan and established the new Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Williams said she believes the plan and the authority are the necessary tools to get state and federal funding to improve housing, noting that her district is one of the city's most blighted areas.

Williams also said she is proud of her advocacy for Public Educational and Governmental Access channels, which broadcast community-based programming, including City Council meetings.

Though some residents may not realize it, Williams said, she and other council members have been working to reduce utility rates.

According to a rate study by the Georgia Public Service Commission, in the summer of 2007, the city had the highest rates of all providers surveyed. By summer 2009, the city ranked 52nd out of 95. Since 2007, rates have dropped about 10 percent, she said, adding that the council has sought additional power sources to stabilize rates so there is less reliance on the market.

If re-elected, Williams said she wants to focus on economic development, increase pedestrian connectivity to businesses and services by adding more sidewalks and look at public transportation and other ways to reduce road congestion.

Williams is a retired teacher. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and social sciences from Clark College and a master's degree in social science education from Georgia State University. She taught the GED program for the Board of Education and Newton READS after retirement.

She serves as mayor pro tem on the City Council.

She is a past member of the Covington Historic Preservation Commission; Housing Board of Appeals and Newton County Voter's League.

She is a member of the organizing committee for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration and a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Interdenominational Choir. She is an active member of Grace United Methodist Church.

Williams has a sister and brother-in-law, Charles and Cynthia Minton, who live in Flanders, N.J., and many nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles.

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