GARDEN CITY, Ga. (WSAV) — A historical change is coming to Garden City.
Bruce Campbell, the city’s Mayor Pro Tem and At-Large Councilman, is set to replace outgoing Mayor Don Bethune. The move, which becomes official next week, will make Campbell the city’s first Black mayor.
As a boy growing up in Garden City, Campbell said never imagined his life now.
“I left home at 18 years old, went in the military. All I wanted to do was get my free schooling, come back and get me a good job, because Garden City was always in the back of my heart,” Campbell told News 3.
The 68-year-old, who’s owned his own barber shop for 30 years, hadn’t intended on getting into politics until he was tapped to serve on Garden City’s planning commission in the early 2000s, by late State Rep. Bob Bryant.
“He said ‘you got people making decisions in your neighborhood, where you done bought a home at. Why don’t you go and help make some of them decisions?’ Made sense to me,” Campbell said while sitting in an antique barber’s chair at his shop.
He will help lead the council through budget talks in the coming months and said balancing industrial and residential growth are top priorities. Garden City is currently under an industrial development moratorium.
“You got a lot of people that want to come in and rezone, turn it into industrial, but what we’re into now is residents. We’re trying to get more residents to come into the area, so it’s just going to be an uphill battle.”
Campbell will serve out the rest of Bethune’s term, which is up for election in 2023. Asked whether he intends to run, he replies coyly “well, I’m thinking about it. I’m thinking about it, you know.”
Mayor Bethune said he’s resigning for personal reasons. He officially steps down on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Campbell will be sworn in on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 3 p.m., at Garden City City Hall.