Hagler talks leadership, power, more in Chronicle interview – News – The Augusta Chronicle


Augusta mayor candidate Gould Hagler doesn’t think his lack of political experience is a hindrance, because he’s held other leadership roles. And he’s already familiar with Robert’s Rules of Order, the procedural rules used by the mayor to conduct Augusta Commission meetings.

Hagler discussed a number of topics during an hour-long Augusta Chronicle Facebook Live interview, taking questions from viewers and Chronicle reporters.

Hagler is challenging Mayor Hardie Davis, who served eight years in the Georgia General Assembly before winning a first term as Augusta mayor in 2014, in Tuesday’s nonpartisan election. Davis declined to join Hagler in an Augusta Chronicle forum but agreed to participate in a solo session at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Hagler said while he hasn’t run for office before, he isn’t lacking in leadership, something he’s exhibited conducting meetings and serving on leadership boards from his college fraternity to local nonprofits.

“My go-to answer is, every politician at one point lacked political experience, if you will. Even my opponent, at some point in his political career, was running for an office for the very first time himself,” Hagler said. “There are different definitions of political (experience). On the campaigning side, correct. But leadership experience is something I’ve been working on for a very long time and been fairly good at.”

While the city’s mayor lacks formal authority, Hagler said if he’s elected his job would be to “cast a vision” for the city and “help identify the movers and shakers to help that vision come to life.”

“We have no shortage of people in Augusta that really want to see Augusta grow and thrive,” he said. “Those people are private citizens, philanthropists. Even commissioners want the best they can for Augusta. That’s where my skills in working with people will come into play.

“It doesn’t take a mayor that has tons of power if you have the right people behind you,” Hagler said.

Asked how the mayor’s race will be influenced by traditional black-white politics in Augusta, Hagler noted his Hispanic heritage and said his campaign tried to steer clear of racial politics.

“My campaign has tried very much to stay away from addressing any kind of racial component,” he said. “Having grown up with people looking at me and making a lot of assumptions about who I am and my background simply because I don’t look Hispanic has caused me to have some sensitivity to racial components.”

 

“At the same time, too, I’m 34 years old and a lot of people in the younger generations see all of that as being very divisive and really hindering progress, especially of Augusta.”

Watch the full interview at augustachronicle.com.

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