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A Cairo woman says she will throw her hat into the ring when it comes time to qualify to run for Cairo City Council.
Alicia Gurley tells The Messenger she will run for the seat that represents District 1, the seat currently held by Cairo Mayor Pro Tem Lannis Thornton. Gurley, 43, resides at 118 Seventh Ave. N.W. in Cairo and is CEO of an assisted living facility in Albany.
“I’m just a concerned citizen. I just want to help. I’m not out to attack. I want to give them (city leaders) a different point of view of people out in the community,” said Gurley.
The potential candidate said there are several issues that are of concern to her. “First and foremost, the potholes in the road are ridiculous, the up-grown, vacant lots that’s in the areas, the utilities are ridiculous, mental health, there’s not enough money in the community to assist youth and adults, there’s a lack of services for the summer, lack of services for parents as a whole. From where I am now, I don’t see anything that’s being done to help the community,” Gurley said during an interview. “If I was there in the midst of it, I could see this is what needs to be done, my voice would be heard, and maybe there will be some help generated.”
Raised in Whigham, the daughter of the late Geraldine and Alvin Byrden, she is a 1993 graduate of Cairo High School who says she also holds associates, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. After obtaining her associate’s degree in administrative office technology from the former Thomas Technical College, Gurley says she earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Thomas University and her master’s degree in human services with a concentration in community and social services counseling from Capella University.
While attending college, Gurley says she also held several jobs, including working as a secretary at Whigham Health and Rehabilitation, 1997-2005, as a social worker for an assisted living facility in Tallahassee, 2003-2005, in the Grady County Schools Nutrition Services, 2005-2007, and as a child protective services worker with the Thomas County Department of Family and Children Services, 2007-2009. She has operated Abundant Living Care Home, Inc. as CEO in Albany since 2013.
Gurley is married to Dexter Gurley and has three children, Andrecia Jackson 22, Philliek Byrden, 18, and Willie Thomas III, 16. She attends Redeeming Life Fellowship Church where she is a member of the praise team, serves on the hospitality and events committee, and volunteers with marriage ministry, and youth and children activities.
Incumbent District one Councilman Lannis Thornton has previously announced his plans to seek reelection.
Qualifying opens Monday, Aug. 19 and ends on Aug. 23. The qualifying fee is $219.60.
Council seats in District Three and Five are also up for election this year. Incumbent District Three Councilman Bobby Gwaltney and incumbent District Five Councilman Jerry Cox have also previously announced their intentions to seek reelection.