CAIRO — One Cairo native is starting early in the race for the city's mayor seat.  

Booker Gainor hosted a campaign rally on Saturday at Davis Park. The rally served as the kickoff event for his run as the city's mayor. 

Gainor opened the rally by telling the audience that while at Florida A&M University, he had a 1.8 GPA in the spring of 2008. He returned to Cairo that summer to work long days cutting grass.  

When he returned to school after that summer — with an improved outlook — he routinely made the dean's list. 

'Thanks to all the grass that got in my eyes, it made me see better," he said. 

After graduating college and in between jobs, Gainor started to give back to the community, including hosting back-to-school events. 

"Once I seen the reactions on kids' faces, I knew I found my calling," he said. 

Along with telling his backstory, Gainor also outlined his platform for mayor, noting the aspects of education, service, and accountability. 

"I vow to actively seek and recruit new industries to Cairo," Gainor said. 

Gainor also discussed striving to work with local churches to start entrepreneurship classes and noting the importance of having an overall vision.  

"I have the passion and the vision to see Cairo flourish," he said. 

Grady County Board of Education member Laura Register was in attendance, and Gainor welcomed her to speak. 

"I'm so proud of Booker," Register said. 

Register also spoke on Gainor's drive and ambition. 

"That passion is going to take you a long way," she said to Gainor. "Thank you for stepping up." 

Gainor closed out his speech on a humorous note. Noting his darkened glasses, Gainor said to the audience, "I like to look people in the eye but without them, I cannot see." 

Yolanda Davis, Gainor's mother, also attended the rally. 

"While the other kids were out playing, Booker was out working," she said of her son's hard-working nature. "He's just always been a go-getter." 

The qualifying period begins in August. Mayor Robert Burns' term ends December 31, 2017. Burns is not seeking re-election.

Reporter Jordan Barela can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1826. 

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