October 19, 2013

Candidate profiles: Cohutta Town Council, Ben Manis

Manis offers experience to grow projects

DALTON — Asked how long he’s served on the Cohutta Town Council, Ben Manis laughs.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “It’s been awhile.”

Awhile is 28 years, or seven terms. That time on the council brings a wealth of experience, Manis says, and he wants to use that experience to see several ongoing projects finished.

Manis is running for re-election. The other candidates are Greg Fowler and Wesley Mahan. The two candidates who receive the most votes will take the two seats up for election this year. One seat was left vacant when Gabriel Powers left the council after he moved from Cohutta.

Early voting is underway and continues through Nov. 1. The election is Nov. 5.

Manis said if he’s given another four years he wants to see a memorial park project finished to honor long-time families who have been in the community “since the cotton gin.” He also wants to find funding for programs to beautify the town and ways to help grow the first responders program at the Cohutta Volunteer Fire Department.

The latter is something Manis is especially proud of growing during his time on the council.

“My big accomplishment — of course it takes the whole council — is our first responders, our medical rescue team and being a state-certified agency,” he said. “The town is far away from EMS services (the nearest hospital is Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, about 20 minutes from downtown Cohutta by way of Cleveland Highway). We have first responders out of our fire department locally. They are the first on medical calls and wrecks (inside the town limits and nearby outlying areas).”

Several first responders have EMT (emergency medical technician) intermediate certification, Manis said, and some have years of experience in an actual EMS environment.

“I want to continue to see how we can grow that department,” he said.

Manis has volunteered with the fire department since 1975, he said, and has been an EMT for 25 years.

“I was born and raised here,” he said. “I have family roots all the way back into the early 1800s. Over in Tunnel Hill was where my mother grew up. It has always been home to me and it always will be.”

But he would like to “see the area progress where it can.”

“I just hope the people re-elect me to continue the projects we have going on,” he said, “and to bring ideas to the council when they have them. We will listen.”

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