Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

The Candidates for Macon-Bibb County Mayor

Lester Miller is seeking a second term as mayor of Macon-Bibb County and is facing a challenge from Shekita Maxwell.

The Murphy Center for Collaborative Journalism and its partners the Georgia Trust for Local News, GPB and 13WMAZ contacted the candidates to share their platforms and reasons for seeking elected office.

Below is a lightly edited version of what we received. Maxwell did not respond to several requests for information.

Lester Miller

Mayor Lester Miller

Lester Miller, 55, is a Macon native who worked as an attorney before becoming mayor. Miller previously served two terms on the Bibb County school board and was elected president of the board three times by his other board members. Miller also serves on a number of civic and government boards as well as with the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank, the Museum of Arts & Sciences, the Macon RBI club, Downtown Rotary and Victory Baptist Church.

Q: Why are you running for re-election?

A:  As mayor, I am proud to lead a team of local elected officials, community leaders and organizations that work together every day to find a way to “yes” to initiatives that benefit Macon-Bibb County. At every level, our community is experiencing a renaissance, and I am running for re-election because our potential is even greater than the success we’ve experienced during the last three years.

From a historic county property tax cut of nearly 50% to the success of our award-winning Macon Violence Prevention (MVP) program (which helped homicides by 43% from 2022-2023) and the opening of new state-of-the-art facilities, including the Atrium Health Amphitheater and Rhythm as well as Rally, the world’s largest indoor pickleball facility, Macon is, as a recent headline asserts, making a “bodacious bet” on ourselves. The result? Since 2021, we have worked with community partners, including the Macon Bibb County Industrial Authority, to leverage more than a billion dollars in private investment that brought or retained over 1,500 jobs for our community. We launched and funded Macon Mental Health Matters, which has made mental health care more affordable and accessible.

Meanwhile, as Macon has consistently been listed in national publications as a “must-see” destination, travel and tourism have become an even more integral part of our local economy. As we await congressional action, thanks to continuing philanthropic investment, our community is preparing to become the gateway city for Georgia’s first national park at the Ocmulgee Mounds. There’s no question this is an exciting time for our community, and no question that others are noticing our success.

During my first term, the Georgia Municipal Association and Georgia Trend Magazine selected Macon-Bibb to receive two Visionary City Awards, one for the Brookdale Resource Center and another  for the Macon Violence Prevention program. Macon is consistently on everyone’s “must go” list as a travel destination. In 2024, Rhythm and Rally was named a “travelblazer” by the Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus , and I received the Bill Hardman Sr. Tourism Champion Award for government.

When I ran for office in 2020, I knew that for our community to reach its full potential,public safety had to be a top priority. That’s why, as mayor, I’ve led the effort to fully fund public safety, worked to establish a pay scale and successfully advocated for pay raises and incentive pay for all law enforcement and first responders. Through the Macon Violence Prevention program, which was created with community input and based on evidence-based violence prevention policies and programs, we have invested in up-to-date technology and training for our public safety employees and we’ve funded dozens of local, neighborhood-based nonprofits and faith-based organizations that are implementing proven-to-work programs to prevent crime before it occurs. Part of this wide-ranging effort to improve public safety is our reinvigorated code enforcement department and Blight Fight initiative, through which 670 unsightly and dangerous structures have been removed from our community. Macon-Bibb is growing stronger every day. I believe in our people and I want to continue this forward progress as mayor for another four years.

Q: What are your plans for improving Macon-Bibb County?

  • A historic investment in improving our local roads. With a SPLOST-funded investment of $40-50 million, we will seek to pave every bad road in Macon over the next four years. 
  • I will continue prioritizing public safety, continuing full funding and providing additional funding for upgraded facilities, training for first responders and attracting new as well as retaining veteran public safety employees. I will continue the successful Macon Violence Prevention program, focusing funding on the successful interventions that address the root causes of violent crime including accessible and effective mental health services.
  • I will advocate for the renewal of the OLOST to keep property taxes low while leveraging the economic impact of our burgeoning tourism industry.
  • I will continue to work to make Macon the best place in Georgia to do business, including advocating for economic development in all geographic areas of our community – especially neighborhoods that have been left behind. 
  • I will continue to support upgrades to and expansion of the airport. 

 

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