Jerry Hensley seeks re-election as Gilmer County Coroner

Election, News
Jerry Hensley

Jerry Hensley, Gilmer County’s Coroner since 1991, announces his intent to seek
re-election in the May 19th Republican Primary.

Hensley is a 1973 graduate of Gilmer High School and a 1974 graduate of Gupton-
Jones College of Mortuary Science (now Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service).
He has been married to Debbie Morrow Hensley for 44 years. They have two
grown sons, Bryan and Nathan, and four grandchildren. Hensley is a member of
Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

Hensley states he continues to operate the Coroner’s Office efficiently while
maintaining the county’s 2 nd lowest budget. Hensley and his two certified deputy
coroners, Melissa Waddell and Brian Nealey, have a combined 49 years of death
investigation experience. Nealey is also a 2001 graduate of Gupton-Jones College
of Mortuary Science. All three coroners maintain their certification by receiving
the state-mandated 24 hours of continuing education annually.

Hensley says, “I pledge to continue serving the citizens of Gilmer County in a
professional and efficient manner all while staying within budget and maintaining
the same level of service. My staff and I will continue to provide prompt service as
well as handling families compassionately in their time of grief. Your vote and
continued support would be greatly appreciated on May 19th .”

Presidential Primary postponed until May 19

Announcements, Election
Presidential Primary

ATLANTA, Ga – The March 24 Presidential Preference Primary has been moved to May 19 with the rest of Georgia’s primary elections in an effort to keep the public safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement that early in-person voting for the Presidental Primary will be halted.

Georgia now joins Louisiana as a state that has chosen to push back elections because of COVID-19.

On Saturday, Georgia reported 66 COVID-19 cases and one death from the virus. Earlier today, Gov. Brian Kemp declared a public health emergency and has called in the National Guard to assist with the pandemic.

Sharla Davis announces campaign for Tax Commissioner

Election
Sharla Davis

My name is Sharla Davis and I am campaigning for position of Tax Commissioner for Gilmer County.

Sharla DavisI 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!!

Norman Gibbs III announces his candidacy for Chief Magistrate of Gilmer

Election
Norman Gibbs III

Hi everyone, My name is Norman Gibbs III. I would like to let everyone know that I am running for Chief Magistrate Judge of Gilmer County. I am married to Ginger Logan Gibbs. We have two sons, two daughter-in-laws and 5 grandchildren. I have lived in Gilmer County for over 45 years. My wife has lived here all of her life. We are proud and very thankful to live in this wonderful county.

Over the years this nation has significantly changed, but Gilmer County has continued to be a great place to raise a family. I have decided to run for Chief Magistrate because I enjoy making decisions based on the facts using the law and because it gives me an opportunity to use my experience for the good of our county. I want Gilmer County to maintain that safe hometown feel that will allow my grandchildren and future generations to enjoy it.

I worked in Ellijay at Blue Ridge Carpet Mills for 31 years. The last 20 years I served as Vice-President of Operations and Vice President of Logistics. My responsibilities included complete control of the manufacturing operation as well as inventory control, customer service, production planning and scheduling. There were over 100 employees involved in the operation. Important decisions had to be made on a daily basis. I also learned throughout my career the importance of dealing with all situations in the correct manner. This gives me the experience needed to carry out the responsibilities of this office.

As an ordained Baptist minister for 29 years I know the importance of having integrity, honesty and treating all people equally. All people are special and should be treated as such (for we all have a soul).

I sincerely ask for you to vote for me in the upcoming Primary on May 19, 2020. Your vote will be greatly appreciated! Thank you and may God bless the United States of America!!

Michael Parham Announces His Candidacy for Chief Magistrate of Gilmer County

Election
Michael Parham

Michael Parham, Former Circuit Public Defender for the Appalachian Judicial Circuit, Announces His Candidacy for Chief Magistrate of Gilmer County.

Michael and Margaret have lived in Gilmer County since 1984. After graduating from law school while serving as an assistant minister at an Atlanta area church, Michael was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1979. Since that time, he has alternated between those roles; serving as a pastor for over 20 years and actively practicing law for more than 20 years. During the early years of his law practice, Michael practiced primarily in federal courts and among other matters, was sole or lead counsel in criminal jury trials in federal district courts including Atlanta, Chattanooga, Charlotte, Birmingham, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Ft. Worth. Michael has been admitted to the United States Tax Court, the United States Court of Appeals for seven of the 12 regional circuits, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

During the years devoted primarily to ministry, in addition to serving as a pastor Michael was actively involved in foreign missions. Sometimes teaching mission and ministry staff and at other times leading teams of young people, he has ministered in over 2 dozen countries and currently serves on the board of 2 mission-related 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. Locally, Michael was a founding participant in Covenant Community of Ellijay.

Returning to the practice of law locally in 2002, Michael was the Circuit (Chief) Public Defender for the Appalachian Judicial Circuit from July 2004 until August 2018, leading a diverse staff of 15 with offices in each of the 3 counties of the circuit (Gilmer, Pickens, and Fannin counties) representing the indigent criminally accused. That office routinely handles well over 80% of all adult criminal cases in the circuit as well as a majority of juvenile delinquency matters. As chief public defender, Michael was part of the Accountability Court Team and was directly responsible for the representation of participants in the Accountability Courts (Veterans Court, Drug Court, HELP Court). Michael Parham’s wide range of legal experience with many aspects of criminal and civil law combined with his ministry experience will allow him to make educated, compassionate and unbiased decisions that best serve the great residents of our local community.

Michael is the Charter President of the Gilmer County Optimist Club. He and Margaret have two adult sons, 4 adult grandchildren, and 2 (very young) wonderful great-granddaughters.

See mgparham.com or email parhamformagistrate@mgparham.com for updates or more information.

Candidate qualifying for Gilmer’s 2020 elections

Election
qualifying

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer is moving further along the path of its 2020 elections as candidates will be qualifying this week for available positions.

According to Gilmer County Probate Court representative, the following people have qualified for these positions. FYN will update this list each day until qualifying ends later this week.

UPDATE: This is the final list as presented by the Probate Court of Gilmer County.

Board of Commissioners Post 1

Hubert Parker (R)

Board of Education Post 1

Thomas Ocobock (Non-partisan)

Michael Parks (Non-partisan)

Board of Education Post 2

James E. Parmer (Non-partisan)

Joseph Pfluger (Non-partisan)

Board of Education Post 3

Douglas R. Pritchett (Non-partisan)

Chief Magistrate Judge

Ken Roberts (R)

Kevin Johnson (R)

Michael Parham (R)

Reagan G. Pritchett (R)

Norman Edward Gibbs III (R)

Clerk of Superior Court

Amy E. Johnson (R)

Coroner

Jerry Hensley (R)
Beth Arnold (R)

Probate Judge

Scott C. Chastain (R)

Sheriff

Stacy Nicholson (R)

County Surveyor

Jeffery Vick

Tax Commissioner

Rebecca Marshall (R)

Sharla Davis (R)

Penney Andruski (R)

STATE Qualifying

District 7 State Representative

David Ralston (Incumbent – R)

Rick Day (Democrat)

State Senate District 51

Steve Gooch (Incumbent – R)

June Krise (D)

Public Service Commission District 4

Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Jr. (Incumbent – R)

Nathan Wilson (L)

Daniel Blackman (D)

John Noel (D)

Judge of Superior Court Appalachian Circuit

Brenda Weaver (Incumbent – Non-partisan)

District Attorney Appalachian 

B. Alison Sosebee (Incumbent – R)

FEDERAL Qualifying

Ninth District U.S. Congress

Michael Boggus (R)

Andrew Clyde (R)

Matt Gurtler (R)

Maria Strickland (R)

Kevin Tanner (R)

Ethan Underwood (R)

Devin Pandy (D)

Paul Broun (R)

John Wilkinson (R)

Dan Wilson (D)

Kellie Weeks (R)

Siskin (D)

United States Senate – Perdue Seat

James Knox (D)

Jon Ossoff (D)

Teresa Pike Tomlinson (D)

Tricia Carpenter McCracken (D)

Sarah Riggs Amico (D)

Shane Hazel (L)

Marc Keith DeJesus (D)

Maya Dillard Smith (D)

David Perdue (Incumbent – R)

United States Senate – Loeffler Seat (Special Election in November) 

Kelly Loeffler (Incumbent – R)

Doug Collins (R)

A. Wayne Johnson (R)

Kandiss Taylor (R)

Tamara Johnson-Shealey (D)

Matt Lieberman (D)

Joy Felicia Shade (D)

Ed Tarver (D)

Richard Dien Winfield (D)

Al Bartell (I)

Allen Buckley (I)

Brian Slowinski (L)

Derrick E. Grayson (R)

Rod Mack (Write-In)

Qualifying for the presidential preference primary election occurred in Dec. 2019 and will take place on March 24, but the general primary for the state is on May 19, 2020. For the general primary, early voting begins on April 27.

Doug Pritchett Announces Run for Board of Education

Election
Doug Pritchett

Doug Pritchett has announced his bid for the Board of Education Post 3 seat. Pritchett has served on the Board of Education since January 2019. In his announcement Pritchett stated “he would continue to be an advocate for all of our students in the Gilmer County School System. I will work with our Superintendent and the other members of the Gilmer County Board of Education to insure we provide the best possible education and learning environment for all of our students. We must work together and have a shared vision so our teachers can be effective in the classroom. We must always strive to improve the classroom experiences, programs and opportunities so students will be prepared to take the next step upon completion of their education in the Gilmer County School system.”

Pritchett is a retired banker with 38 years of experience mainly in Gilmer County. During his banking experience he has served as a President, Chief Financial Officer, Controller, Commercial and Retail Loan Officer and Branch Manager. He is married to Lynne Gheesling Pritchett, who taught Family and Consumer Science at Gilmer High School for 33 years. They have three sons: Kevin (Reagan) Pritchett, David Pritchett, Nick (Casey) Pritchett. Doug is a lifelong resident of Gilmer County. He is a graduate of Gilmer High School, Reinhardt College and the University of Georgia. He also has a banking degree from the Graduate School of Banking of the South at LSU.

Doug believes his banking experience particularly in the area of budgeting allows him to better evaluate and understand the complex financial matters the Board of Education must deal with on a regular basis. We must be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money while providing adequate funding for a quality education. It is our responsibility to work together as a governance team to represent our students as well as the community’s interest. Our actions must be within Board policies as well as state of Georgia and Federal laws and regulations.

The Gilmer County School system provides our students with a quality education, but we still have challenges and opportunities for improvement. My pledge is to continue to work to move our system forward for all of our students’ success. I would appreciate your vote and support on May 19.

Sheriff Stacy Nicholson announces for re-election

Election
Stacy Nicholson

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.

Congressional Candidates visit Poole’s Bar-B-Q on campaign trail

Election, News

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Candidates Marjorie Greene, 14th District, and Rich McCormick, 7th District, visited Ellijay to speak about their campaigns for election at the famous Poole’s Bar-B-Q.

Each candidate met with citizens in Gilmer and offered a few words on campaigning and their support for Trump in the coming elections.

Dr Rich McCormick, candidate for Georgia's 7th District in Congress, speaks at Poole's Bar-B-Q in February of 2020.

Dr Rich McCormick, candidate for Georgia’s 7th District in Congress, speaks at Poole’s Bar-B-Q in February of 2020.

Dr. Rich McCormick spoke about opportunities for the people and the need for a leg up. He said, “This is about an American dream and selling something that’s good for everybody. I think that’s one of the things we’ve been lacking. We’re so busy trying to prove people wrong and trying to demonize people, that we forget that what really brings home a message, and you talk about Christianity, If you study the Bible with anybody and you ever try to convert anybody, it’s not by proving them wrong that you convert them. It’s by loving them.”

McCormick went on to say that people want in to this country because of the American Dream. He spoke about when he was young and picking berries then moved on to a paper route. The opportunities continued as he said he joined the Marine Corps for 16 years as a pilot. Then he went to Morehouse School of Medicine where he became student body president.

Achieving that was not because of pretending to be somebody according to McCormick. But it is about relationships and about believing in people, putting in the real work, and accomplishing things for the people. He pointed out that the United States hasn’t passed a budget in over decade.

Being a doctor today and having served as a doctor in the Navy after Morehouse, he says he got into politics because he realized the bad politicians and the dirty politics he saw. Waste and abuse of the system is rampant, he pointed out the medical system saying, “If you’ve had to deal with the medical system the way it is, you’re probably already frustrated… 18 percent of your tax dollars, every year, is consumed by medical costs for taxation. That doesn’t include your premiums. That doesn’t include your deductions. That’s just what the government takes to pay for medicine.”

He went on to add that a single payer systems, the budget would be increased by $30 trillion in national debt, from $23 trillion to $53 trillion. He called it the single biggest step the United States could take towards Socialism.

McCormick said he wants to go to Washington with “real solutions” and to reach across the aisle with a message of hope, love, and the american dream to steer the nation back to a better place.

Marjorie Greene, candidate for Georgia's 14th District in Congress, speaks at Poole's Bar-B-Q in February of 2020.

Marjorie Greene, candidate for Georgia’s 14th District in Congress, speaks at Poole’s Bar-B-Q in February of 2020.

Marjorie Greene spoke about her skills in management, problem solving, and budgeting along with her success as a business owner over the last two decades since she bought her parents business in 2002. She said she wants to take these skills to Washington.

Greene said her worry is about a particular group in Congress tearing apart the subverting the Constitution and citizens rights. She pointed out what she calls embarrassments in Congress like Pelosi ripping apart Trump’s speech saying, “This is something that I, very much in particular, want to take with me.  I am a strong, unapologetic, conservative woman. Republican. I’m a Chirstian. I’m a mother. I’m a wife. Now, I want to go to Congress. I’m working very hard to get elected, but once I go there, I want to stand firmly in the face of these women that I see are radical, Anti-American, women…”

Greene listed several of the plans she felt are a part of that radical ideals including abortion up until birth, abolishing Second Amendment Rights, the Green New Deal at $93 Trillion, and medicare for all, among others. She said the nation could not survive medicare for all.

Greene said another reason she wants to go to Congress is to fight these policies as her kids enter the workforce, to “save” America for her family.

FYN caught up with the candidates after the event to ask their thoughts on another major race as each candidate mentioned Trump and their thoughts on his presidency. Closer to home, we asked these candidates their thoughts on Doug Collins running against Kelly Loeffler in the Georgia Senate. While Greene said she wanted to just focus on her race and hasn’t thought much about other races, McCormick offered a comment saying, “I hope it doesn’t become a divisive topic with the Republicans because right now, we’re in a good position.” He went on to add a secondary thought saying he hoped that Trump could possibly step in with a great solution “because he’s a problem solver and because he’s a leader.” Yet, the fear of division remained forefront.

Additionally, Richie Stone, Chairman of the Gilmer Republican Party, offered a few comments as well saying that even though he cannot endorse any candidate over another, he was interested in seeing the race and hoped that it would drive turnout in the elections to support them and others on the ballot including both U.S. and State races.

Current Magistrate Judge Ken Roberts Announces Candidacy for Gilmer County Chief Magistrate

News
Current Magistrate Judge Ken Roberts Announces Candidacy for Gilmer County Chief Magistrate

Ken and his wife, Karen, have called the Coosawattee neighborhood home for thirteen years and describe Gilmer County in one sentence: “Friendship with a sense of community.”

Ken’s public service career began with a five-year tour in the United States Air Force, followed by a fire service career in Central Florida, where he retired as Assistant Fire Chief after 25 years.

His public service career continued with the Seminole County Department of Public Safety, serving first as the Public Information Officer, then as County Emergency Management Director, and retiring as the Director of Public Safety. All of these positions involved coordination with county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the navigation of county-level government operations.

Ken currently serve as a Magistrate Judge for Gilmer County. He has served the Magistrate Court – which is often referred to as “the People’s Court” – with one simple philosophy: Do the right thing, always. This approach has served Gilmer County well, earned him the respect of the local law-enforcement community, and proven to be especially valuable when dealing with citizens coming to court for the first time.

Ken is running for Chief Magistrate in order to continue applying his philosophy of fairness, respect, and always doing the right thing; and would appreciate your vote.

For more information, visit electkenroberts.com

Reagan Griggs Pritchett announces candidacy for Magistrate Judge of Gilmer County

News
Reagan Griggs Pritchett

To the citizens of Gilmer County:

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Reagan Griggs Pritchett and I am running for Chief Magistrate. A multigeneration citizen and native of Gilmer County, I am the daughter of Maynard and Denise Griggs. I am married to Kevin Pritchett. The son of Doug and Lynne Pritchett, he is also a lifelong resident and now a member of the Ellijay City Council. A member since childhood, we attend the First United Methodist Church of Ellijay.

I am an honor graduate of Gilmer High School. I also graduated with honors from the University of North Georgia. I went on to get a Masters in Political Science from Georgia State University. I am currently a PhD candidate at Georgia State. My PhD is in political science with a concentration in public law. I also currently teach American Government undergraduate courses at Georgia State University. Government and the law are both my knowledge and my passion.

I am choosing to run for Magistrate because I want to help make a difference in the county that helped raise and mold me into the person I am today. My father is a retired Post Commander of the Georgia State Patrol. Before pursuing a passion for teaching, my mother was a special agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Being the daughter of both a law enforcement officer and a teacher taught me the importance of the intersectionality of toughness, fairness, and compassion. I want to build on the legacy and foundation left by those who have held the office previously. I believe that I have the honesty, integrity, and solid work ethic that will be required by this position. As a lifelong native, I am fully invested in Gilmer County. This is my home and my community and I wish to be an active member of its future as your future Magistrate. I humbly ask for your prayers, support, and your vote in the Republican Primary on May 19, 2020. If anyone has any questions, please do not hesitate to send me an email at: reagangpritchettformagistrate@gmail.com.

You can also find more information on www.facebook.com/reagangpritchett

Thank you and God Bless our great county,
Reagan Griggs Pritchett

Kevin Johnson Announces His Candidacy for the 2020 Gilmer County Chief Magistrate Elections

Election

Kevin Johnson proudly announces his candidacy for the 2020 elections for Chief Magistrate of Gilmer County.

As a veteran of the Marine Corps and with over 30 years of law enforcement experience, his dedication to service continues on as he humbly asks for support in his campaign to further his community that he cares so much for.

As a former Georgia State Patrol Trooper, he has received annual training in courtroom demeanor, case law, affidavits, arrest warrants, search warrants, and courtroom testimony. He is very experienced in courtroom demeanor and procedures as it relates to trial law. During his career, he has often been called upon to give expert testimony in both criminal and civil court cases.

His background establishes a solid foundation to serve as your Chief Magistrate. He has the experience that makes him the right choice to serve our community in this role.

Election day is Friday, May 19, 2020. The elections will be held concurrently with the statewide primary election.

Learn more about Kevin Johnson and his campaign by visiting www.facebook.com/badgetobench

Contact info:

Name: Kevin Johnson

Organization: Kevin Johnson for Chief Magistrate

Email: badgetobench@gmail.com

Gilmer County’s 2019 Election Results

Election, News
Election Results

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County’s 2019 Election Results are rolling in tonight, November 5, 2019, as citizens elect a replacement Post 1 Commissioner for the vacancy left by Dallas Miller’s Resignation last month as well as a new Ellijay City Council.

This article will continued to be updated throughout the night until final results come in.

With 13 of the 13 voting precincts in Gilmer County reported and early votes counted, the results follow:

Post 1 Commissioner 2019 Election Results:

Jason Biggs: 227 votes

Al Cash: 249 votes

Hubert Parker: 1360 votes

Ed Stover: 206 votes

Jerry Tuso: 91 votes

 

Having received 63.70%, Probate Judge Scott Chastain has stated there will not be a runoff.

Hubert Parker offered a comment on the victory saying, “I’m elated at the confidence the voters expressed in me. I’ll do my best to serve all the citizens of Gilmer County.”

When asked if he was happy to not be going to a runoff. Parker said he was obviously happy to have it done now and to the county can move on with their business.

 

Ellijay City Council: 2019 Election Results

Charles Barclay: 71 votes

Jerry Baxter: 64 votes

Tom Crawford: 82 votes

Jerry Davis: 54 votes

Brent Defoor: 78 votes

Al Fuller (incumbent) : 110 votes

Katie Lancey (incumbent) : 81 votes

Sandy Ott: 126 votes

Kevin Pritchett: 109 votes

Brad Simmons: 74 votes

Ellijay City Council Candidate Forum heralds coming election day

Election, News
Ellijay City Council Candidate Forum

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer Chamber hosted their 2019 Ellijay City Council Candidate Forum this week, and with only five days to election day, the final stretch of the race is still seeing the candidates working hard for votes in the city.

However, its not just the voters watching this election as local business owners and even some of the county’s Commissioner Candidates were on hand to listen to these speeches. Though not all live in the city limits to be eligible to vote, business owners said they were present as they wanted to know what the city’s future, and therefore their businesses, hold.

The City Council Candidate Forum lasted from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. Each candidate was given 3 minutes to speak to citizens about their campaign. Afterwards, these candidates took time to speak personally with attendees in a “Mix & Mingle” format.

With one candidate absent, those present for the forum included incumbents Al Fuller and Katie Lancey and new candidates Jerry Baxter, Tom Crawford, Jerry Davis, Brent Defoor, Sandy Ott, Kevin Pritchett, and Brad Simmons. Charles Barclay was not present.

However, this forum isn’t the only stop this week on the campaign trail as FYN spotted candidates at the 2019 Chili Challenge speaking to citizens and enjoying the event. And with five days left until Election day, the candidates are working harder than ever trying to get last minute moments with voters. This year’s election format could see five completely new candidates on the council. With the previous withdrawal of candidate Lynelle Reece Stewart, there will definitely be, at least, three new faces to the council next year.

For citizens of Ellijay, Tuesday will be very busy as they not only vote for the newest Ellijay City Council but, as citizens of the county as well, also for their new Post 1 Commissioner to fill in the remainder of Dallas Miller’s term on the Board of Commissioners.

Post 1 Commissioner Election in Final Stages with Candidate Forum

Election, News
Post 1 Candidate Forum

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.

Hubert Parker, Post 1 Commissioner Candidate

Election
Hubert Parker

“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.

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