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Friday, September 13, 2013 - 2:00am

Sam Hart: I'm A Better Listener

Bibb County Commission Chair Sam Hart may be a longtime political ally of Macon Mayor Robert Reichert, but the two now find themselves in competition as they both hope to lead the new consolidated government.

At candidate forums, Hart and Reichert have sat next to one another, often nodding in unison, their body language indicating agreement on most issues.

But in an interview with GPB, Hart said he does bring something unique to this race.

"As we move into a new government, there ought to be an effort for consensus building.," Hart said "And I think, more than any other candidate, what I understand is that it's important to be a good listener.

"They might be better talkers, I'm a better listener," he said.

Hart and Reichert have shared many of the same key supporters in their prior runs for office. Now that the two are in direct competition, some voters have expressed feelings of ambivalence.

Hart has tried to consider downtown Macon as "part of the county" during his tenure leading the Bibb County government, he said, pointing to his role in securing financing for the Dannenberg loft conversion.

"If you look at the way that we differ from Warner Robins in terms of our efforts is that Warner Robins has had tremendous growth, but they don't have a downtown. So when people start looking at where's the heart of your area, they sort of look at us," Hart said.

GPB spoke with Macon-Bibb mayoral candidates C. Jack Ellis on Monday, Charlie Bishop on Tuesday, Robert Reichert on Wednesday, David Cousino on Thursday, and will speak to Joe Allen next Monday.