“I’ve always enjoyed serving and I’ve always enjoyed the application of state law.” Kevin Johnson said he enjoys and looks forward to the position of Magistrate Judge if elected.
Running to transition into the Judge’s office after retiring from the Highway Patrol after seven years as post commander in Blue Ridge at the end of 2019, Johnson said he believes his experience and history will transfer easily into the office as he comes from 30 years experience in law enforcement. Transitioning between applying warrants and making arrests to approving warrants and seeking righteous cause to protect citizens will be easy as the core purposes of public service and protecting people’s rights is his focus in both.
Johnson lives in Gilmer County with his wife, Julie. With four kids in the family, he calls Gilmer his home post. The Appalachian Mountains have been home throughout his career and as a Gilmer County resident for over 25 years, he says he vested in his community, in the place where his kids grew up, where one son still lives.
A veteran of Marine Corps with six years of service, two in the corps and four in reserves, Johnson said that public service has been a part of his entire life. Service in the Marines, service as a Sheriff’s Deputy, and service as an officer in the Highway Patrol. Taking the next step is just the natural feeling as he says he closed the door on his police career with his retirement, but saw another door open with the Magistrate position.
The Magistrate’s Office is something Johnson said he has been interested in for years, and sees it as the next step in service. Dealing with the Magistrate’s Office over the years in law enforcement, the interest grew the more he interacted with them. While retiring from the State Patrol, he said he never wanted to run against Gilmer’s Magistrate Judge, but when he learned the position was coming open with the Judge retiring, he knew it was time to pursue the office that has interested him for so long. It was time to take that next step in service.
Johnson said that the bench has its differences, such as not searching for evidence but listening to it. Making those determinations based on evidence. But he said much of those changes, he has already prepared for. During his time with law enforcement, he had annual training for courtrooms including case law, arrest warrants, affidavits, and courtroom testimony. He says statutory law and writing and requesting warrants in addition to training and experience in conflict resolution means ready skills and applicable experience in the office.
“It becomes who you are, you want to serve,” said Johnson about his career so far. From military to law enforcement, “I wanted to defend those who could not defend themselves.”
He noted many times in law enforcement, an officer has to guide and mediate arguments in situations like domestic disputes, for example. He spoke about how sometimes you have to be a little bit of a counselor, that the job is not all about making arrests. Reaching a middle ground and resolving a problem, that is the feeling he wants to take from the position of officer to the position of Judge. Johnson said that was the key personality he wanted to bring to the position, a servant’s heart that wants to reach goals and solve problems.
“It’s a new chapter,” said Johnson as he explained not just a desire to to become the Magistrate Judge, but an excitement to learn new things and continue his service while enforcing the right for people to have their voices heard in the judicial system. He said he has the knowledge in the law, he has the experience, and he has the drive to become the Magistrate Judge. Combining education with experience provides the perfect balance needed for leadership and guidance in the position.
There is a trend in many cities now having legal experts, that is to say attorneys, in judge positions as they have the training, education, and experience readily available in the courts. Michael Parham said he believes that expertise is the key. He explained that he wants to bring a professionalism that can only come after decades of experience and immersion in the system through training and practice. He said that he thinks any of the candidates could run the office well and he is not here to challenge that credibility, instead, Parham said he is running because he wants to continue the idea of attorneys and legal experts in the office.
Parham has that expertise whereas new non-legal experts require the extra training. Each candidate can become what the county needs as they grow and progress each day. But Parham already has 20 years of experience. He said that he also will have to grow and progress in the office, learning from the public and the people. But with the training already done, he said, “If we can put someone with professional training and background in the office, why not do that.”
Michael Parham is an attorney, a pastor, a husband, and a father. His wife of 50 years, Margaret, and he has two sons, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Living in Talking Rock in 1981 and hearing the call to minister earlier in his life, it was in 1984 that he actually moved into Gilmer County and began calling it his home. Before that, he lived closer to Atlanta and was a pastor at a church just outside the city limits as he attended law school.
Going from preacher to lawyer, in the late 70s, it was a time when several child murders had occurred near his home, but also a time of increasing interests in christian schools and other needs for church’s to have lawyers. “I wanted to be an advocate,” said Parham explaining that he has always felt a need to help people. In that time, it was an advocate for people in the christian school movement and churches in need. It appealed to him and he grew into the legal studies from there. The two run along parallel tracks in his life as he says it gives a unique background and view of people. It has never become a one or the other option as Parham later went inactive with the bar and became a minister again, but then returned to his legal career again after that.
In court settings, Parham said he has the understanding for precedence and proceedings. He has the knowledge to be sure that warrants are valid and viable and to speak with officers over merit. Just as lawyers have their role, a judge must know his role so as not to become an advocate or speak for either side. A judge must not impose himself or herself into the cases, but also be available to explain proceedings neutrally.
“It’s a head start.” With 14 years and 1 month in public defender office, you deal with people from the public, you are called to help people in all situations. Clients are assigned despite whether you want it, like it, or anything. Because of that, Parham said he has learned to have the the mindset of just focusing on the case at hand and putting any thoughts, biases, or personal feelings aside to focus on ‘how can I help this person in this situation.’ He explained it as “You take people as they come and you just try to serve them to the best of your ability.”
Private practice allows more selective options with cases and clients. And while he has practiced privately, Parham said that his time as a pastor bleeds through, “I love serving people.” The vast majority of his law career has been as a public defender and continuing that into a Judge’s position came because he saw no other lawyers qualifying.
He said he doesn’t want to rush in and make a bunch of changes, but rather fully immerse himself in it. A new judge will deal with things maybe differently than the previous judge, but it shouldn’t be a difficult transition. Taking the bench is a role to service and a step to provide what he believes to be a necessity for the position. Taking that transition is just another among his life as he recalls his start in legal studies.
All of his career has been in defense, Parham is already looking at this and understanding that has a different look at things than prosecutors. Looking at cases in certain ways, and looking to a new office and a new way of things, it means taking the ideas of different cases and looking at cases in different ways. It’s about resolution. A Judge’s position is about providing and guiding resolution in many ways. People have high expectations in court and you have to guide resolutions without advocating for one side over the other.
Parham said, “Wise judges usually try to guide parties toward resolution that they have a part in bringing about.”
Taking that step is not a big step as Parham says he has learned these lessons throughout his life.
“Yes, there will be things for me to learn. I would be, certainly, remiss to think I am going to just waltz in and I got it all down. I don’t. We’re all going to be learning, any of these candidates are going to be learning, but I have a whole lot more experience to bring to that learning,” said Parham. Qualifications are not something that should be ignored. He said he is the candidate with background and education to step into the position with qualifications and experience.
He went on to note that he didn’t qualify early on in the process. He waited to qualify until Thursday afternoon of qualifying week because, as he told his wife, if another attorney had run, that would have been fine. “I think an attorney has to be in that role.”
My name is Sharla Davis and I am campaigning for position of Tax Commissioner for Gilmer County.
I have lived in Georgia for 45 of my 48 years. Five of those years have been here in Gilmer County. My husband and I consider our move here to be one of the best decisions we’ve made….besides marrying each other, of course. (haha) The area is beautiful and the people are exactly what we were looking for when we moved here…..friendly, giving, courteous, welcoming, just all-around wonderful people and neighbors. We’ve made some great friends and look forward to many more years here and more friendships made.
I have 30 years experience of Accounting, Management and Customer Service in the Automotive Industry working for 4 of the top 10 Automotive Groups in the Nation. Receiving, processing, balancing and reporting millions of dollars. I also have experience working in the Tax Commissioner’s office when I was employed, here in Gilmer County, as the accountant for your current Tax Commissioner. I am confident that my experience will facilitate a smooth transition into the Public Service position as your next Tax Commissioner.
Please vote Sharla Davis for Gilmer County Tax Commissioner!!
Sheriff Stacy Nicholson announces he will seek re-election this year.
Sheriff Nicholson and his wife, Stacie, live in the City of Ellijay. They are both members and regularly attend Friendship #3 Baptist Church in McCaysville.
The Sheriff is 48 years old and will begin his 30th year of law enforcement with Gilmer Sheriff’s Office in March of 2020. He was first elected as Sheriff in 2004.
Sheriff Nicholson states, “I have devoted my entire adult life to serving and protecting the citizens of Gilmer County. I have never had the desire to pursue ANY job opportunity, professional or financial, that would take me away from serving the community in which I live. Instead, I developed the desire and vision of molding and leading this Sheriff’s Office to an agency that is second to none. In that, I have a lot of ‘blood, sweat and tears’ invested. We’re not perfect by any means, but we strive daily to provide Gilmer County citizens with the best Sheriff’s Office they can ask for. I have an excellent group of deputies and staff that have bought into my vision, and they work hard every day for us.”
On day one as Sheriff, Nicholson began working on building strong relationships with the police chiefs of Ellijay and East Ellijay. The Sheriff states, “Our agencies are small, respectively speaking. We all sometimes need each other for assistance. Cooperation starts at the top. If the Sheriff and Chiefs get along and are on the ‘same page,’ then the troops out there doing the job will typically.” Sixteen years later, the working relationship between the Sheriff’s Office and Police Departments is strong.
In highlighting just a few of the agency’s accomplishments under Sheriff Nicholson, the Sheriff’s Office received its State Certification in 2008, becoming only the 12th Sheriff’s Office in Georgia to achieve this “voluntary” distinction. The Sheriff’s Office is in its ninth year of offering a “totally transparent” view of their operation through their Citizens’ Law Enforcement Academy program. The Office has a strong in-house training unit, as well as outside the agency training opportunities, focusing heavily on active shooter response and crisis intervention training. Lastly, the Sheriff’s Office has just begun offering active shooter response for citizens, specifically focusing on churches.
In highlighting some recent professional recognition and accomplishments, Sheriff Nicholson was elected by the Sheriffs of the State of Georgia to serve as President of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association for 2018-2019. Prior to that, he served for six years as Regional Vice President of the Association. Most recently, he has been appointed as a District Director for the Constitutional Officers’ Association of Georgia, representing a 14-county area of Clerk of Superior Courts, Probate Judges, Tax Commissioners and Sheriffs. Sheriff Nicholson states, “It is a huge honor to be respected by my elected peers to represent them in our Associations second ONLY to the honor of being able to serve the citizens of Gilmer County as YOUR Sheriff.
Sheriff Nicholson concludes, “today’s law enforcement is ever changing, under scrutiny and sometimes even under attack. Leading a Sheriff’s Office is not for the ‘faint of heart.’ It is a fast-paced, stressful job with a lot of moving parts with 100-plus employees. I assure you that I am physically, mentally, and health consciously ready to lead this team that I have assembled for whatever comes our way.”
The record of the Sheriff’s Office, under MY watch, I think speaks for itself. Our goal is to address serious crime in a manner that might be a deterrent, using proactive versus reactive policing methods; but at the same time maintaining our small town approach to interactions with our good citizens, both young and old.
I would be honored to be YOUR Sheriff for the next four years and I humbly ask for your vote on May 19th.
Today, conservative small businessman, poultry farmer, and State Representative Kevin Tanner announced that he would run for U.S. Congress, District 9. Current Congressman Doug Collins has announced his intention to run for U.S. Senate.
“I am announcing my campaign for Congress because there is too much at stake in our country to sit on the sidelines. With the attempts to overthrow an election through this impeachment nonsense, socialists running for President, a resistance to support President Trump in building the wall, and Nancy Pelosi and the Socialist Squad trying to destroy our values, we need a strong, effective and trusted conservative in Congress. I am ready to continue our district’s 27-year history of having conservative leadership in Congress. I am ready for the fight to stop the radical left and work alongside President Trump to protect the conservative values that make North Georgia and all of America great.
“I’m not a politician – I am a public servant. From serving on the frontlines in law enforcement to being a bold defender of our values in the State House, I have a long history of fighting for North Georgia. Unlike a lot of the career politicians in Washington, I am not in it for titles, perks or accolades. In the State House, I have focused on listening to the people and leading to deliver results on the issues that matter. I have supported tax cuts and balanced budgets, championed religious freedom, passed education and public safety reforms, protected the 2nd Amendment, and supported strong and historic pro-life legislation like the Heartbeat Bill. I have shown that you can be unapologetically conservative and get things done. That’s exactly what I will do in Congress.
“My family has made North Georgia home for generations. This is my home, our values are a way of life, and I would be honored to serve our families in Congress as your trusted and effective conservative leader. I am asking for your prayers and your support because I am ready to oust Nancy Pelosi and join President Trump in his fight to Keep America Great,” said Tanner.
More About Kevin Tanner
Kevin Tanner is a Christian, husband and father, successful businessman, battle tested conservative, and a trusted public servant.
A successful businessman and farmer, Kevin owns a security company, where he provides armed and unarmed security guard services to various clients. He also owns Tanco Investments, LLC, a company with residential and commercial rental properties in several counties in North Georgia. Additionally, Kevin is a licensed light commercial contractor and primarily builds residential homes. Today, Kevin also operates a poultry farm on the same land that has been farmed by his family for over 150 years.
A trusted public servant, Kevin has spent 30 years in public service. He has served as a volunteer fireman and on the frontlines of law enforcement as a Sheriff’s Deputy and as the Chief Deputy in Dawson County Sheriff’s Office. He went onto become the County Manager for Dawson County. For the last 7 years, he has served in the State House where he has passed meaningful legislation and has become recognized as one of the most effective leaders at the State Capitol. He currently serves as Chairman of the State House Transportation Committee.
A committed family man, Kevin has been married to the former Stacie Pickering for more than 21 years. Stacie is a kindergarten public school teacher, and they are the proud parents of four beautiful daughters.
A man of faith, Kevin serves as a deacon and adult Sunday school teacher at Bethel Baptist Church, where his family has attended church for seven generations.
Kevin received his undergraduate degree from North Georgia College and State University and earned his Masters of Public Administration from Columbus State University.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – With five days left to election day, many citizens are still deciding who to vote for in the county’s Post 1 Commissioner campaign after the recent Candidate Forum.
The five candidates in the race, Jason Biggs, Al Cash, Hubert Parker, Ed Stover, and Jerry Tuso, are still making strides in these final days up to the election as Gilmer still has some undecided and wavering votes. One voter told FYN, “I really wanted to early vote this week, but I have absolutely no idea who to vote for.”
The Republican Party’s Candidate Forum from last week is also continuing to provide one last glimpse into the candidates before ballots are cast. The event also held a straw poll showing results of those who attended the forum. Those results had Jason Biggs and Hubert Parker tied at 40 percent. Al Cash at 14 percent. Both Jerry Tuso and Ed Stover collected 3 percent.
One commenter on Social Media, Ted Barrett stated, “To me Cash and Biggs were running neck to neck until the last two questions. That’s when Biggs separated himself to take a big lead.”
The Candidate Forum ran from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. with each candidate taking 5 minutes to speak directly about themselves and their campaign. Then, they took turns answering questions posed by the crowd as they originally entered the venue.
The night concluded with extra time for the candidates to mingle and speak with people at their tables for more personal conversations. With the election so close, some may think the candidates are coasting to the end, but FYN has still seen these candidates working hard on the campaign trail in numerous events including last weekend’s Chili Challenge and this week’s Gilmer Chamber Ellijay City Council Candidate Forum.
With only five days left to the election, the one common theme among the candidates and we at FYN share, citizens need to find time through these last two days of early voting or on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, Election Day, to get out and vote. Make your voice heard as a part of Gilmer County and its direction into our future.
“It appeared to be a time when my background and experience would be a help to the county,” said Post 1 Commissioner Candidate Hubert Parker when asked why he decided to run in this year’s election.
Hubert Parker has lived in Gilmer County for 15 years since he last moved here, however, he also grew up in the county before moving away. “You keep coming back,” he said as he has continued to return to the county and family who have lived here. He has been married for 55 years and has two kids, a son and a daughter.
Parker has served as a certified public accountant for three years, 33 years in University of Georgia’s Business and Financial Administration,
Such a business background focused on banking relationships and treasury functions throughout his accounting experiences as Parker agree it is not his first time in budget processes and balancing finances. In fact, its not even the first time Parker has served in parts of Gilmer’s government. He has served on the Board of Tax Assessors and Building Authority before.
Parker said he mainly wanted to focus on roads and jobs, growing small business in the county and finding the right kind of businesses saying, “The quality of life is very important here, and we have to keep that in mind in the kind of businesses we recruit.”
Parker pointed to a lack of jobs for young people in the county as an example of this need. He said creating opportunities for people is only one step. Projects like the CORE (Collaboration On River’s Edge) Facility and its mentor programs is another step.
As we continue growing and recruiting businesses, Parker said we need to recognize and appreciate the tourism as well. Looking even further out, other projects and goals for Parker include a desire to continue expanding the water system and reduce the impact of the county’s debt.
In his part to accomplish these goals, Parker said, “I want to continually seek to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of county government.”
While realizing a Post Commissioner is not as involved in the day-to-day operations, Parker said he feels that being on the board, helping to identify these opportunities and guide the board while working with the other commissioners.
When asked what he sees as some of the challenges ahead if elected, Parker noted that working towards improving roads and continuing along the budget process could present challenges as he steps into the position mid-process. But he reasserted that continuing the intergovernmental relationships was another point he wanted to focus on with their projects.
Alternatively, Parker said he has never run for public office, but the aspect has energized him as he continues to get involved and speak to people in the county. He is continuing to learn “the whole picture of the county.”
Development of the county is important to Hubert Parker as he says he wants to keep the character of the county and not change the quality of life.
Looking specifically at recent issues the county has faced, Parker said he wants a full study on Carters Lake saying, “Let’s look at the total picture, lay everything on the table before we make a decision, and then from that, based on good information, make our decision.”
Studying financial feasibility and benefits versus costs, Parker said he wants to know what’s being offered while considering the money.
Similarly, when considering the pool, Parker said, “We need a pool, the young people need a pool, the teams need a pool. This is important. The problem as I understand it, I’ll find out more if I am elected, is where to put it.” In making these decisions, people want it to be convenient, but the county has to consider the project as a whole and locations based on financial practicality and location viability.
Some of these issues continue to focus on the natural resources the county has. In addition to the people, Parker said the rivers, the lake, the mountains, and the agricultural heart of the county are things the county holds dear. Parker said these are not resources to be exploited and taken advantage of, but they must be used and managed responsibly.
Taking up a leadership position is nothing new to Parker, even if an elected position is. Debating and working towards solutions as part of the board is a labor of mutual respect. He said he feels strong stepping into the position, even coming amid the tail end of the county’s budget process.
“I view myself as a workhorse, not a showhorse,” Parker said as he explained an uneasiness with the public eye and media attention of his campaign. Working towards the county’s future and the goals set is what Parker says he wants to strive for.
“I feel I bring maturity and experience to the board.” In his own words, Post 1 Commissioner Candidate Jerry Tuso explains why he qualified and is running for the position.
An Air Force Veteran operating in Air Traffic Control, Jerry Tuso has also served for 21 years as an FAA Air Traffic Controller with another 20 years as a government contractor for FAA Controllers, FAA Weather Observer, and Naval Weather.
The experience he brings also comes from when he was Chairman of Planning and Zoning in Hurst, Texas for three years, a town of 50,000 population, Labor Relations Manager for Crown Cork and Seal for three years, and Senior Agent for the State of Georgia DFCS (Division of Family and Children Services) for three years.
Tuso said he wants to bring this experience forward to the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners and its recent growth over the years. He explained that while growth is inevitable, it should inevitably be done correctly. Through continued oversight in the county, the citizens’ money should be protected and guarded. Tuso said, “We have to be very responsible with our debt, with the additional possible liabilities that we take over.”
Tuso said he wanted to continue to focus on roads in the county. As the more pending situation alongside the debt, these responsibilities have to be addressed before taking on extras. With proper assistance, Tuso said the county has responsible builders and the growth we see could be a win-win situation.
Addressing the specific issue of Carters Lake, Tuso said he doesn’t see additional benefit with the county paying the cost without improving recreation for the county. He said, “I think we have to be very cautious every time the federal government wants to bequeath something to you.” Tuso wants more details to find the “strings attached.”
Additionally, Tuso spoke on the pool as he said its necessary to have different types of athletics situations for the youth. The pool is such an instance, but also serves for the older population who could use it for exercise and aerobics class possibilities. He did state that he wants to look further into funding sources saying, “I would have to be convinced first that we have exhausted all the grants at the same time.” He went on to say that he is comfortable with the county continuing to set aside money each year as long as they continue exhausting the grant opportunities.
Speaking on the more day-to-day operations, he was more focused on a support role saying, “There should be more emphasis in assisting the Chairman, supporting the Chairman, than attempting to lead.” Tuso wants to focus on the most widely productive and widely used options in the county’s future. He said you can’t exclude any portion of the county, but we have to focus on projects and operations with the greatest and most widespread benefits.
Stepping into the position if elected, Jerry Tuso pointed to the community and its attitude as his biggest excitement for the job, saying, “That’s indicative that we are doing things right, and I want to continue to do things correctly and right. I think I have a good eye for the proper growth in the county. That’s where I would like to concentrate.”
Tuso celebrated the recent expansion of the water system to more parts of the county. He wants to continue these types of expansions even further to more residential areas as well. Achieving goals like this is not something any entity can do alone. We need each other and should continue to increase our cooperation. He said he wants to consider joint meetings. With relationships growing through the Joint Comprehensive Plan, Tuso said they should open the door to ideas like this. Continuing to improve those relationships even further in new ways that have never been done before. Connecting in these ways can only further support other needs like jobs and housing.
Growth requires insight, balance, and a tempering to the type of county you want to be. As a candidate, Jerry Tuso said he believes he has that insight. He has the experience and maturity to temper that growth and to provide the support and guidance into Gilmer County’s future. Tuso said, “People have asked me why I am running again. I am running again because I think there is more to be done.”
Priorities. Post 1 Commissioner Candidate Jason Biggs says he realizes that certain things need prioritization over others. Balancing those priorities and being successful in the position requires details and research, two points that he says are a large part of his life and skills.
Though visiting family and the county for 20 years, Jason Biggs has lived in Gilmer County with his wife for the last five-and-a-half years. With two sons and one daughter, he says his family has been a family of farmers and ranchers. Today, he proudly states his grandson is a native of Gilmer County.
Currently working as a Regional Security Manager, Biggs oversees properties to maintain security and safety on a daily basis. Also retired law enforcement, he is no stranger to analysis, research, risk, and budgeting as he says he operates daily on a number of properties within his given budget. He notes that as he continues studying the changing landscape of his business to continue new initiatives that he must research and implement in his business.
However, he also states he is no stranger to staying busy and working hard in his life. When he was a full-time police officer, he also worked full-time at a store-front business for screen-printing and embroidery for over three years.
Living in Gilmer County now, it has been astonishing, Biggs said, at how easily and readily he has been accepted into the county. It is the community that has welcomed him and his family and made this place a home.
Now, as the position of Post 1 Commissioner has opened and his current job schedule has become more flexible, Biggs has become concerned with what he sees in the county that is his home. He said, “The thing that concerns me the most is that we have a debt in excess of $4,000,000 that we have to service annually for a courthouse. That was supposed to paid by sales tax… It’s very hard for me to look 20 years into the future and say, ‘Sales Tax will be able to pay for this.’ At some point, you have to realize that there is a risk of that debt coming back on the taxpayer. And I am afraid that that might happen again if we’re not careful.”
Biggs said he wants to support the recreational sides of the county, but he also knows that to enjoy these projects, people have to be able to get to the pool. he said specifically that he is for constructing a new pool, but he wants to dig deeper to find “real costs” in the project including maintenance and operations for the larger size and a second pool.
Similarly, he addressed concern over Carters Lake as the county moves into a reactionary stance to this need. Touching on the possibilities at the lake, he questioned how the county would respond if they did create a new department. What would the staff costs including benefits and salary? What would the legal fees be for contracts be? What would operations include?
Biggs said, “As a taxpayer, I want to know, it is going to cost ‘X’ amount of dollars, to the penny…If I am elected to this position, that is something I want to start doing.”
Also looking at the roads in the county, continuing the improvements and continuing to “grow intelligently” requires the priority on this infrastructure to continue its prioritization. Biggs said the infrastructure has to be top priority.
He went on to say, “Tax payer dollars should be treated as sacred. You are getting money from the sweat off of people’s backs. I think there is a lot to be said for those people paying their taxes. I think politicians need to be very, very careful how that is spent.”
As he went through these situations, he noted that he has concerns over these issues, but he felt running for the position was his way to do something. Though he is currently a concerned citizen, he didn’t want to be someone who complained about an issue but didn’t do anything about it. Finding issues is the first step, researching solutions is another.
Sometimes these issues require strange answers. Biggs recalled how he came in for tag renewal one day to find the tag office closed at lunch. He spoke about citizens who work daily and take their lunch hour to try and comply with something the government said they have to do. Whether its opening over different hours or opening Saturdays instead of another day, the compromise between the county and citizens is the key to operating the county in favor of the citizens who fund and own it.
Communication, honesty, and transparency, these three keys to any relationship are what Candidate Jason Biggs says he can bring to the Post 1 Commissioner position. When the open conversation stops, that is when the problems begins. It’s the point of involving the people of the county to include new ideas from every walk of life. This allows the board to prioritize and maximize their spending.
However, learning more about the county is more than just listening to citizens in the board room. He wants to go further in learning the ins and outs of the county. He pointed to opportunities such as possible ride-alongs with Sheriff’s Deputies to becoming more involved with Team Cartecay, the mountain biking team that his son rides with.
“Being able to look back and say, ‘Hey, I made a positive impact on something that I was involved with would be the reward, Biggs said as he spoke about the county that has welcomed him. Fostering the growth and cooperation continues through partnerships. He pointed to the work the Gilmer Chamber and their work with local business. Small business in the county is a key part of the county. Being pro-business also helps to alleviate some of the tax burden to the citizens.
Just like speaking with citizens, local business is a relationship to work alongside in pursuit of an agreed upon goal. But maintaining Gilmer’s identity, especially in areas like agricultural success, has to be protected in the growth that continues. Looking at the county as a whole has to be part of the commissioners’ jobs as they move forward with the different entities within the county, including the cities and the Chamber.
He noted the recent budget sessions the county has gone through. Watching the videos on those sessions gave some insight into the county’s needs and what each department wants. It returns to the same process as the Sheriff asks for support in their retirement plans or Public Safety in their capital requests. He said, “When you start looking at the safety and security of taxpayers, that should be paramount.” But he fell back to the details of these requests and looking at the “to the penny” costs and how they fit into the limited funds of the county.
Hearing the opinions of the people, and balancing the costs of the county, Jason Biggs said this is the job he wants to take on. Running for Post 1 Commissioner is his way to step up and face the concerns he has seen. But, he said, “If you’re looking for somebody to go along to get along, I’m not the guy. I am going to do what I feel is the best for the taxpayer’s dollars and I am going to be the voice of the people of this county because I don’t think everyone has an equal voice, and I feel like they should.”
Stability and unification, these are tenets that Al Cash said he wants to see moving forward in Gilmer County. Though he did not plan to run in the Post 1 Commissioner Race, Cash says he was approached by others who urged him to run due to his “life experiences and the integrity I have based my entire life on.”
Like many of the candidates, Cash said one of the concerns he sees and hears from citizens is the unstoppable growth the county has seen over recent years. Cash said that the growth is there, it is the job of the Board of Commissioners to control that growth and mold the county into what the citizens want for their future.
President of the Firefighters Auxiliary and volunteer for the EMA staff, Cash is also the webmaster for the Fire Department. Under the Auxiliary, he seeks additionally funding outside of the county budget for the department, manages many of the events like Kids Christmas. They seek fundraising opportunities for additional training and equipment as well.
Cash has also worked 30 years for State Farm where he worked as an adjuster and in third party litigation for 15 years and IT work for 15 years. He has lived in Gilmer County with his wife since 2012. He has one son and four daughters.
Originally having bought a house here in 2006, his family planned to retire here. He says it was definitely the people that drew him here, saying “I hear this all the time, and it’s absolutely true. It’s the people. The people are so incredibly nice… It was strange. It’s a whole different culture, and we fell in love with it.”
Standing up to run for the position of Post 1 Commissioner, Cash said it is the intangibles that set him apart for the position. From his life experiences to knowledge and organization, these are part of the skill set that he brings to a county with the unique setting and trials that Gilmer County faces.
“I see a lot of flux,” says Cash as he explained that he sees some citizens wanting to revert to the small town that has been here in the past and some wanting to embrace and grow into a larger town or city. Calling himself a traditionalist, Cash has seen both large cities and tiny towns. Balancing the growth and tradition is key in Gilmer as it moves forward. But Cash says the balance cannot be a general blanket answer. It’s a department level issue as he says each area requires its own answers and its own type of that balance.
“That’s just a lot of math and analysis, trying to figure out what is the best way to spend the money that are available. How to balance that between other departments and what’s happening in the community, it always has to be what’s best for the community as a whole,” says Cash.
With two major issues in the recent months of the county, many citizens are looking for views on the pool and Carter’s Lake.
Cash asserted that he understood that a new pool is necessary and desired by a large portion of the county. But he wants to learn more about the other questions as he asked what is the real cost? He said he wants to learn more about the details, including operations, maintenance, costs, and the viability for the community. He said, “I’m a research king. I need all the facts.”
Some of those details include the deep end addition with diving boards. Cash said he has concerns for the insurance and liability side of it as well as the additional costs.
Again with the Carter’s Lake issue as Cash said he feels many of the citizens are still unaware of the details more than just the three options available.
Details on these subjects, however, are not just for himself as Cash says the county needs stability and unification moving forward. He points out that it doesn’t mean everyone agreeing on everything, but about bringing the government and citizens closer together with more information and communication. Cash said he has even considered things like starting a blog if he becomes Post 1 Commissioner. The core of the idea is increasing connection and interaction.
On top of improving the relationship with citizens, Cash also wants to see the relations continue improving within the county. Noting the comprehensive plan as the first step in this. Cash said these entities in the county, as a whole, benefit from each other in a “scratch each other’s back” situation. Cash noted that though the cities are their own entities, the Board of Education is its own entity, and the Board of Commissioners is its own entity, it is still all inside of Gilmer County. He said, “I would like to establish as much of a working relationship with them as we can… I’d like to be part of that getting better.”
Cash also noted new ventures such as CORE joining these entities throughout the county through projects like their mentor program. The Joint Development Authority is another branch of this connection.
Continuing along the campaign trail, Cash urges citizens to get out and vote in the election. As he looks to the Post 1 Commissioner position, Cash said he is excited to be a part of the county’s forward momentum. “I would love to get in there and be a part of where we are now and moving forward. I’ve always been that way. I’ve loved getting in on the ground floor… I love building it, and making it happen. Making positive things happen.”
Committing to the position is all about “Service above Self” according to candidate Al Cash. Committing to the county in this position is, as he says, all about the Facts, Finances, and Future.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Current Councilmember and candidate for re-election on the November ballot, Lynelle Reece Stewart told FYN that she will be withdrawing from the election for Ellijay City Council.
As she announced she would be removing her name from the election, Stewart said, “There have been some unexpected developments with our home and I don’t think it is fair to the citizens of Ellijay for me to run for re-election with a possibility of being unable to serve.”
Stewart was one of 11 candidates running for Ellijay City Council this November.
With possible complications to her candidacy, Stewart did say, “I will continue to support Ellijay and its citizens for as long as I live on River Street.”
The election now moves on with the remain 10 candidates and will see a forum in October.
EAST ELLIJAY – With Qualifying finished and the names gathered, East Ellijay will officially skip the elections process once again this year.
Each member of the current council has requalified with no one running against them. With no contest, City Manager Mack Wood tells FYN that the city will not be moving forward with any of the remaining processes for voting booths, early voting, or campaigning.
The current council will remain with the following incumbents having qualified:
Jasper, Ga – The Pickens County Board of Education hosted a no-threat lockdown today on the campus of Pickens High School.
Parents and citizens saw the Pickens County Sheriff respond to concerns saying:
We currently have a team of deputies and K-9 units participating in a controlled sweep of the Pickens High School campus. While the school is being checked, students are being placed in a non-emergency lockdown status. Students are safe and no threat exists at the school.
When questioned about the lockdown, Pickens County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson said the K-9 sweep was scheduled for a few weeks ago, but had to be pushed back due to scheduling conflicts with Cherokee County who supplies the K-9 units. As the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has retired its last K-9 unit for medical reasons, Wilson stated it is a part of the agreement with Cherokee County to utilize theirs.
With the lockdown and sweep completed, Wilson informed FYN that no drugs were located during the sweep today. Though he noted it was not directly related to the rising use of vape devices, Wilson did respond to questions about the trend saying that it is a concern in the school system.
Sweeps like this is a part of the school’s enforcement of its code of conduct as well as state and federal law. Though Wilson said there is more going on behind the scenes in the system’s response to the rising vape concerns and to school security in general, he declined to release details saying, “There is a number of things that we are doing and things that we are working with the Sheriff’s Office, some of that we just can’t publicize at the moment.”
More information on these steps like the K-9 sweeps and other programs the school already has in place over its years in operation can be found at the upcoming Monday, September 24, day of events involving the Office of the Sheriff, the District Attorney, and Pickens School district as they hold a meeting for parents for information and the ‘Chat with the Superintendent’ at Pickens High School at 6 p.m.
Wilson went on to note that the school system is being forced to change the way it views vaping devices. While he notes that it is against the law for underage kids to possess cigarettes and vaping devices and they have enforced the law, he did state that the school system may have, at times, not utilized the most extreme forms of discipline available in every situation involving the use of nicotine. He went on to say, “Now that this added ability of being able to vape just about anything, that brings it to a whole different level.”
As part of the school’s efforts to inform parents and students about the dangers that vapes present with not knowing what is in them, the board is working with the District Attorney and the Sheriff’s Office. Wilson said, “We may have looked at vaping in the past as more of a replacement for a cigarette, and not as a delivery device for drugs… Going forward, we probably would.”
He added later, “We’re going to have to really start disciplining to the fullest extent that we can, given to us by our Code of Conduct or either by the Law to keep our children safe.”
Reposted with permission from the Dustin Inman Society blog
While the liberal media ignores the fact, both candidates in the bruising two-month Georgia Republican gubernatorial primary race have avoided immigration issues where the eventual governor can make the biggest difference.
With run-off day looming tomorrow, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp have mostly kept their immigration focus away from topics that may offend the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and narrowed to “sanctuary cities” and on illegal aliens who have already committed additional crimes in the United States – or “criminal illegal aliens.”
The main driver of illegal immigration is illegal employment, which was not mentioned in either campaign.
In addition to black market labor, they are also both dodging obvious and voter-popular immigration issues where a governor can play a central role, including drivers licenses to illegal aliens and official English for government.
No mention of protecting jobs for American workers
When asked in a statewide December 2015 poll, “Who should get the future jobs in Georgia? – Americans, including legal immigrants already here, illegal immigrants already here, newly arrived legal immigrants and guest workers or it doesn’t matter, workers who will work for the lowest wage.” A whopping 90% of Republicans said Americans, including legal immigrants already here should get priority.
Silence on allowing voters to decide on constitutional official English
Nearly 86% of Republicans – and 76% of all voters polled – answered “yes” when asked “would you support an amendment to the Georgia constitution that makes English the official language of government?” in the same poll conducted by Atlanta-based Rosetta Stone Communications
Despite the objections of the business lobby and with a unanimous party-line vote, in 2016, the Republican-controlled Georgia state senate passed a Resolution that would have allowed all Georgia voters to answer a ballot question that year on English as the state’s constitutional official government language.
But the legislation quietly died with Democrat “no” votes when Republican House leadership instructed Republicans to stay away from a sub-committee hearing which killed the bill.
Official English is not a voluntary campaign topic for either of the Republican candidates for Georgia governor. This despite one metro-Atlanta school district boast that 140 foreign languages are spoken by its students.
While it is not widely understood by voters, currently, the state of ten million offers the written road rules portion of the drivers license exam in eleven foreign languages.
Drivers licenses for illegal aliens – not a campaign issue
The same statewide poll that asked about official constitutional official English showed that 80% of Republicans and 63% of all Georgians also want to end the practice of giving any drivers license to any illegal aliens.
Many voters are unaware of the fact that Republican Georgia has issued more than 20,000 drivers licenses and official state photo ID Cards to individuals who the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services classifies as lacking lawful immigration status – but who have been given work permits by both the Obama and Trump administrations.
This group of aliens includes recipients of the Obama DACA deferred action on deportation amnesty, aliens who have been granted deferred action outside of the DACA amnesty and aliens who have already been ordered to be deported by federal officials.
Work permits, officially known as Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) are issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services which is an agency in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The 2005 REAL ID Act implemented after the horror of 9/11 says that illegal aliens who have been granted deferred action on deportation or who have been ordered deported but then apply for permanent residence use that temporary condition as “evidence of lawful status” for the purpose of obtaining a federally approved drivers license or state ID card.
⦁ In a direct contradiction, USCIS says “Current law does not grant any legal status for the class of individuals who are current recipients of DACA. Recipients of DACA are currently unlawfully present in the U.S. with their removal deferred.”
⦁ Through an official spokesperson, USCIS has provided a breakdown of the classification codes contained on the work permits that illustrate the immigration status of the bearer.
⦁ USCIS also operates the SAVE verification system for official agencies to determine immigration status of applicants for public benefits. Drivers licenses and ID cards are public benefits in Georgia.
⦁ Appointed by current governor, Nathan Deal, Georgia’s Attorney General, Chris Carr, has told an Atlanta NPR affiliate that “We have continuously and clearly taken the position in ongoing legal cases that DACA does not confer legal status.” (July 17, 2017 WABE News).
Georgia is among the states that issues the identical drivers license to legal immigrants with ‘green cards’ and foreigners who entered the US lawfully on temporary visas – including Mercedes Benz executives – as are issued to the aliens the state Attorney General and USCIS says lack legal status. The defacto national ID, these credentials are used as valid ID to enter military bases, federal buildings and board airliners in America’s airports.
Drivers license issued to all non-citizens in Georgia, legal status or illegal status. Photo: DDS
Sponsored by conservative state Senator Josh McKoon, in 2016, legislation passed the Georgia Senate by a two-thirds majority – with every Republican vote except one – that would have clearly marked driving and ID credentials to note the illegal immigration status of the bearer. That measure was allowed to expire without a hearing in the GOP House, controlled by business-oriented Speaker David Ralston. McKoon also sponsored the official English Resolution.
Most Georgians do not realize that under state law the same aliens USCIS says have no lawful status but have been issued a work permit are eligible for state unemployment benefits.
The jobs-for Americans, drivers license/illegal alien/unemployment benefits issue is not a topic in either Republican candidate’s campaign for the Republican nomination for Georgia governor.
Georgians deserve to now where the candidates stand.
The powerful Georgia business lobby has long worked against protecting jobs and wages for legal workers, use of E-Verify, immigration enforcement and official English. Georgia ranks ahead of Arizona in its population of illegal aliens, according to estimates from DHS and the Pew Research Center. One estimate is that the crime of illegal immigration costs Georgia taxpayers $2.4 billion annually.
The current governor, two-term, business-first Republican Nathan Deal, has avoided the illegal immigration issue since his first year in office. But, Deal boasts that Georgia is named number one state in which to do business by Site Selection magazine.
The influx of migrants and the anti-enforcement power of the business lobby will eventually result in a Democrat in the Georgia governor’s office. This year’s far-left, anti-enforcement candidate for the office, Stacey Abrams, has a real chance of winning and has recently received a one million-dollar donation from Georgia Soros.
Blue Ridge, Ga. – What has come down to a battle of endorsements over the last two weeks has played out with some big name backers. Secretary of State Brian Kemp landed perhaps the largest endorsement of all as President Donald Trump tweeted out his support of the Georgia gubernatorial hopeful.
Kemp’s campaign announced recently the backing of several Republican opponents from the May Primary. Among those to officially announce their support were Michael Williams, Clay Tippins, and Hunter Hill.
Opponent in the gubernatorial runoff, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, was unable to receive any backing from Republican challengers that were faced earlier this year.
Cagle did however land some big name endorsements recently as he continues his campaign. While holding the title of the only Georgia candidate in the governor’s race to be backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), Cagle drove this message home as the President Elect of the NRA, retired Lt. Colonel Oliver North, hit the trail with Cagle to show his personal support of the candidate.
Cagle’s big name endorsements didn’t stop there. Earlier this week current Georgia Governor Nathan Deal also personally endorsed Cagle to be his replacement.
Although it seemed that the cards had become stacked in Cagle’s favor, Kemp showed his final hand and delivered a fourth ace by officially getting an endorsement from the President of the United States Donald Trump.
Follow FetchYourNews for the latest election information and Cagle’s thoughts on Kemp’s latest round of endorsements.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com
Gainesville, Ga. – “There’s only one candidate who’s been endorsed. There’s only one candidate for Governor’s office who actually meets the standard of what we need and that’s Casey Cagle,” retired Lt. Colonel Oliver North enthusiastically spoke to the large crowd gathered in Gainesville, Ga. this weekend.
Lt. Governor Casey Cagle has been the center of controversy for several weeks after the release of a secret recording in which Cagle speaks candidly to former gubernatorial candidate Clay Tippins about politics over policy.
Regardless of this recent smear on Cagle’s bid to be Georgia’s next Governor, one fact remains and cannot be disputed, Cagle is the only candidate for governor in Ga. to receive the coveted endorsement from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
With this point being perhaps one of the largest differences between Cagle and his opponent, Brian Kemp, Cagle’s campaign decided it was time to bring out the “big guns”.
President elect of the NRA, North, hit the campaign trail with Cagle on July 14 making three stops across the state to share with constituents why Cagle is the only candidate that will uphold the values of the NRA.
“I’m here because there is only one candidate for governor who has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association,” North said explaining his stance on Georgia’s heated gubernatorial race.
According to North, Cagle has “sterling record as supporter of the Second Amendment”. North went on to say that Cagle “is going to make sure that your gun rights and others are going to be defended when he’s in office as your Governor.”
Doting on Cagle’s record of fighting for the rights of gun owners in Ga., North also brought attention to Cagle’s support of firearms manufacturing and the jobs that have created in this field.
“He’s created the best, pushed through the best legislation, I think, in the country for giving you the right to defend yourselves,” North was met with cheers from the large crowd as he presented Cagle’s record on the Second Amendment.
North added, “I’m just reassured by what he’s already done, and what he’s committed to do.”
Constituents also got a peek into the private life of North as he shared personal stories of how the fight to defend the Second Amendment hits close to home threatening a long standing family tradition.
North, grandfather to 17 grandchildren, shared this tradition, “I get to give them a present. The only present I get to give them. Everything else comes from Betsy (wife) and me.”
This present given by North when each child turns 14 is a box containing three items, a Bible, a map and compass, and a 20 gauge shotgun.
North labels each box with “There are three things in this box that you have got to learn how to use, and if you do learn to use all three things, you’ll never go hungry, you’ll never be lost and you need fear nothing, but you have to learn to use all three.”
Each child is then told to read Proverbs, one Proverb per day for a month. After this task is completed and understood, North teaches the children how to use the compass and map. The final item that the child can then master is the use of the shotgun.
North told of how each child must learn to take apart, put together and clean the firearm before they can tackle the task of learning to shoot.
A bonding experience for a grandfather and a grandchild, one which his family holds dear, North joked, “The kids call me by my first name…Colonel.”
But according to North this tradition is threatened and he pointed to the fact that a couple of states have already passed laws where it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess or purchase a firearm.
Speaking of Virginia, the Lt. Colonel’s current state of residence, North said, “If that happens in Virginia, you know where I’m moving? I’m moving right here.”
North concluded his endorsement with a request, “I want each one of you, if you would please, go out and find a family member and a co-worker and a neighbor and a friend. So now you’re talking four of each one that you know that’s not here today and get them to the polls on the 24th of July so that this man….”.
Upon saying this North turned to Cagle and was drowned out by cheers from the audience.
Cagle briefly shared his thoughts on North’s personal endorsement: “I just value, not only what he has done in his life but also what he is doing by standing up for the Second Amendment.”
Referring to North as a good friend and speaking of the encouragement that North has given him, Cagle simply added, “This man is a real patriot.”
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com