Kevin Johnson asks for your vote on August 11th

News, Politics

Clyde & Gurtler Debate LIVE July 17th 8pm on

Featured, Featured News, News


Watch Georgia’s 9th Congressional District Republican Debate LIVE!

Georgia 9th Congressional District Republican Primary runoff will be August 11th 2020.  Watch tonight as
runoff candidates Matt Gurtler and Andrew Clyde will be joining #BKP LIVE on the evening! Friday, July 17 @ 8 p.m.
TUNE in to see where your candidate stands on issues facing the district.
Click on to watch LIVE at 8pm or download our app
L-R Georgia’s Congressional 9th District Republican Candidates
Andrew Clyde                               Matt Gurtler

Gilmer County 2020 General Primary Election Returns (FINAL)

Election 2020, Politics
election returns

GILMER COUNTY, Ga – The polls have closed for the June 9 General Primary. To review the unofficial election returns for your local races, see below. Please remember all the results are unofficial until certified by the Secretary of State.

The following results are the unofficial totals for election night as reported by the Gilmer County Probate Office.


Commissioner Post 1

Hubert Parker (R) – 6,316 votes

Board of Education Post One

Michael Parks (Non-partisan) – 4,492 votes

Thomas Ocobock (Non-partisan) – 3,501 votes

Board of Education Post Two 

James E. Parmer (Non-partisan) –  4,001 votes

Joseph Pflueger (Non-partisan) – 4,173 votes

Board of Education Post Three 

Douglas R. Pritchett (Non-partisan) – 7,451 votes

Magistrate Judge 

Ken Roberts (R) – 566 votes

Kevin Johnson (R) – 1,940 votes

Michael Parham (R) – 899 votes

Norman Edward Gibbs III (R) – 1,484 votes

Reagan G. Pritchett (R) – 1,887 votes

Clerk of Superior Court

Amy E. Johnson (R) – 6,394 votes

County Coroner

Beth Arnold (R) – 2,112 votes

Jerry Hensley (R) – 4,857 votes

Probate Judge

Scott C. Chastain (R) – 6,534 votes


Stacy Nicholson (R) – 6,389 votes

Tax Commissioner 

Penney Andruski (R) –  701 votes

Rebecca Marshall (R) – 5,663 votes

Sharla Davis (R) – 643 votes

County Surveyor

Jeffery Vick – 6,414 votes


Yes – 3,140 votes

No – 5,532 votes 


9th District Representatives

Devin Pandy (D) – 347 votes

Brooke Siskin (D) – 490 votes

Dan Wilson (D) – 308 votes

Michael Boggus (R) – 266 votes

Paul Broun (R) – 399 votes

Andrew Clyde (R) – 1,281 votes

Matt Gurtler (R) – 1,488 votes

Maria Strickland (R) – 370 votes

Kevin Tanner (R) – 1,524 votes

Ethan Underwood (R) – 546 votes

Kellie Weeks (R) – 366 votes

John Wilkinson (R) – 393 votes


To see the state election returns, click here.

Run-off elections will be held on August 11 if needed. The General Election is scheduled for November 3 as well as the jungle primary for Senator Kelly Loeffler’s seat.

Election Results delayed as polls remain open in Gilmer

Election, Election 2020
qualifying, polls

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer’s Probate Office has issued an order for polls to remain open late tonight due to issues this morning.

According to Elections Manager and Chief Registrar Tammy Watkins shared that the order saying they will hold Big Creek open until 7:20 p.m., Boardtown open until 7:15 p.m., Cartecay open until 7:05 p.m., Cherry Log open until 7:15 p.m., Ellijay South open until 7:30 p.m., Tails Creek open until 7:30 p.m.

The order states that these polls are remaining open due to issues that prevented the polls from opening on time this morning. “Because of equipment issues that were not caused by Petitioners and which were beyond the control of Petitioners,” says the order.

Because Georgia law guarantees a twelve-hour window for citizens to cast their votes, the order states that all voters shall cast their votes in this extended time via provisional ballot only. These ballots will be kept separate from other provisional ballots. Probate Judge Scott Chastain commented saying the provisional ballots are required by law due to federal offices on the ballot.

The extension will cause a delay in election results for tonight, but results will be tallied after closings as normal.

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2020 9th Congressional District Candidate Interviews with BKP

Featured, Featured Stories, News, Politics

BKP interviews the candidates for the 9th Congressional District. These candidates discuss with BKP the latest in the news from Black Lives Matter, Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, Department of Education and the 2nd Amendment on if they support it or not. These interviews will better help you get to know the candidates for the June 9th election.


Kevin Tanner:


Ethan Underwood:


John Wilkinson:


Andrew Clyde:


Paul Broun:


Matt Gurtler:


Kevin Johnson, candidate for GIlmer Magistrate Judge

Election, Election 2020
Kevin Johnson

“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.

Michael Parham, Candidate for GIlmer Magistrate Judge

Election, Election 2020
Michael Parham

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.”

Kevin Johnson asks for your vote!

Community, Politics

Beth Arnold, Candidate for Gilmer County Coroner

Election, Election 2020

New energy. Beth Arnold, candidate for Gilmer County Coroner, says she wants to bring new energy to the office in Gilmer County. An office that she holds 11 years of experience for from funeral service as she says she has worked in Bernhardt Funeral Home. She also studied funeral services in the program at Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro, Georgia.

Arnold said that she decided to run for the Office of Coroner because she wants to serve the citizens of the county while taking the next step in education and public service through the career she has spent so much time in. A lifelong resident of Gilmer County except the time spent at college, Beth is the daughter of Lee and Buffy Rittenberry Holcombe. She graduated from Gilmer High School in 2010 and is married to Dusty Arnold with two daughters, Reagan and Farrah.

Relying on her family for support in her career is key as she says they have already gotten used to strange hours in her career. Continuing that support into the Coroner’s Office, she says it is her firm stance on the importance of family and her Christian beliefs that drive her.

Though not the first time she’s thought about the office, Arnold said that now, the timing is right to make that run. This is where that ‘new energy’ she talks about comes from. Arnold said she is excited to take these next steps receiving the education and training, but also to bring renewed growth and a new face to the office.

“[The Coroner’s Office] has always been there in a time of need, they’ve done well at gathering information to pass on to investigators… They have served the community well,” says Arnold who noted she wants to add new ideas to renew and revitalize the position. She pointed out she didn’t have major issues she wants to change, but rather just improve upon with a fresh face.

Arnold spoke about centralizing the office in the county to be more neutral ground with people who it serves. A professional yet compassionate environment for family members who come there.

The Coroner’s investigations and correspondence with those involved in the investigations are a key point in the office. Being a part of the community in service is another. But with separation from personal businesses, she wants to isolate the office in that area. She asserted this point saying that she wanted to separate the office from her own personal business included. Work at a funeral home is service to that business, but working in a public office is service to every citizen in the county.

Arnold said that she wanted to be “Beth Arnold, Gilmer Coroner” in those times. To be a coroner serving the community with dignity and respect is the goal she wants to achieve.

Arnold said that her career is a calling that isn’t for everybody. But setting to join funeral services in her career, she knew that. Being a blessing for people in a time of need, guiding them, and being a blessing for them as well. In funeral service, Arnold says that she wants to encourage people where she can.

The next step of running for Coroner, she says, is just an extension of that. Having that passion for helping people and the interest in funeral services, she wants to continue serving in a new role, a new capacity. Taking on the challenges of education and administrative responsibilities with that position, challenges like maintaining the budget and growing inside that budget, are all challenges to overcome in that service.

A fresh new role for her to fill, a fresh new face for the county. New energy to drive it into the future. Arnold says she will be there, any time of day, to provide in a time that people need to be treated with dignity and respect. There is no inconvenient time in this position and she wants that to be known saying, “It’s a position of service for those in the county and I want to serve you in that manner.”

Jerry Hensley, Candidate for Gilmer County Coroner

Election, Election 2020

Twenty-nine years of service since 1991. Jerry Hensley, candidate and incumbent for Gilmer County Coroner has been serving the citizens in his position for nearly three decades.

Studying the mortuary science in Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science, now Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service, Hensley graduated and, later, began licensed embalming and funeral services since 1975.

Since becoming Coroner, Hensley has undergone over 700 hours of training and classes for death investigations, family services, and law. With such a long history, he says much of the job has become muscle memory, but while practices and procedures don’t often change, laws and jurisdiction do. Hensley has worked alongside Sheriffs, city police, and even the Georgia Bureau of Investigation during his time with the county as he said he gets calls in all hours to support these investigations.

He has been married to Debbie Morrow Hensley for 44 years. They have two sons, Bryan and Nathan, and four grandchildren. Hensley is a member of Mount Vernon Baptist Church. A 1973 graduate of Gilmer High School, Hensley has lived in Gilmer most of his life, save for attending school. He’s never felt a need or draw to leave the county saying, “I love the mountains, and I love Gilmer County and have always loved the people. I am comfortable here.”

So connected to several areas of the community, from the office to friends, family, and church, Hensley said he has never felt comfortable in other places the way he does with Gilmer.

Much the same way as setting roots in Gilmer, Hensley set roots into funeral service as he had in interest in it when younger. As things tend to go, one thing leads to another, and a student that studies that which interests him finds work in it. Hensley continued that study and work into services and a position at Logan’s Funeral Home.

HensleySince 1991 and taking the Office of Coroner, Hensley said he is most proud of reaching close to 95% of all his calls. He said, “The people of Gilmer County elected me as their Coroner and I try my best to do my job.”

Helping in that office though, Hensley said he could not ask for two better deputies. He and his two certified deputy coroners, Melissa Waddell and Brian Nealey, have a combined 49 years of death investigation experience. All three coroners maintain their certification by receiving the state-mandated 24 hours of continuing education annually.

He went on to note that multiple calls or busier periods that require multiple responses require a deputy coroner to fill in with full authority of the Coroner’s Office saying, “That’s why I am proud to have two good Deputy Coroners. Because I can comfortably send them out on a call knowing they have got full power of the Coroner, and they are the Coroner when they are there. Everything’s going to be run like it’s supposed to.”

Having those deputies helps, but doesn’t always make the job easier in the one area that Hensley says is the single hardest part of his position. Notifying families. “It is always sad,” he said about the necessity of this service.

That necessary part comes with great balance to maintain professionalism while also being compassionate to the families. Hensley said it is what he has always strived for, compassion and courtesy amidst a professional, efficient office.

He wants his record to speak for him in this election as he said he hopes to continue serving the county just as he has for so many years. Furthermore, he asserted a need for citizens and encouraged all to get out and vote in the coming primary as many of Gilmer’s offices will be decided at that stage.

Penney Andruski, Candidate for Gilmer Tax Commissioner

Election, Election 2020

“I saw the need, I heard the need,” says Penney Andruski about her run for Tax Commissioner of Gilmer County. She went on to say that rather than just complaining or bypassing what she feels is a need in the county, she wanted to jump in and do something about the issue.

Andruski worked in the courthouse for two years under the State of Georgia with the Department of Community Supervision. She says she saw a lot in her time there and learned how important the office and staff is to the county. She has had 28 years of business experience and management. She has also spent 10 years in Gilmer’s community with the Mountain Ridge Garden Shop. She has spent 23 years in Gilmer and is engaged. Unfortunately, with the virus outbreak, she has had to put things on hold there but wanted to push ahead with her candidacy for the office.

Being a public servant is hard, she said, but researching the position before she announced her candidacy, Andruski said she is the right person for it. The experience she has gained and diversity through everything from entry-level to executive positions, from mom-and-pop-businesses to high-end styles. Budgets, board meetings, committees, law, these are all things that Andruski specifically pointed to as she says she is ready for the challenge.

“Your staff is the face of you,” she said. “When you’re a good leader, and you have good leadership skills, that reflects out that you have a balance in that office because that is a work-family…”

Andruski said she wants to be pro-active and engaging to the public. Utilizing things like digital media and web-based information, the goal is to become pro-active in providing an expedient, professional, and engaging service to citizens so that they know all they need to.

“Information is critical,” said Andruski.

The office has been great at collections according to Andruski who says the next step is better connections. Whether a staff member is answering a phone or signing a legal document as a judge, the elected officials and employees of the courthouse serve the community and should strive to offer the very best work possible.

She said even amidst the virus, she has noticed the great works of entities like the Chamber who has kept people’s spirits up, but also kept the flow of information up. She said she wants to be just as good in engagement areas like that telling people about extensions and requirements and new updates. She doesn’t want surprises.

The more information that citizens and residents have, the better they will feel. She wants to improve upon the successes the office has made, but fill in the areas she says has needs.

Organization is a key point for Ansruski’s personality as she said she loves the details of operations. The reason behind her passion in this office specifically comes from the details of everything, details like the numbers, accounting, collections, citizens, law, and the ways to engage all of these together.

For citizens, she says, it is all about the experience and the service and participation of the commissioner translates through the staff and provides that service. When it all comes together, we will continue to grow, all of the dollars, the people, and the budgets have to balance to achieve these common goals.

One challenge she says she sees ahead is transitioning. The first year is key as, if elected, she operates off a budget she did not create, but also in meshing with the staff and bringing a welcoming environment to carry on to achieve the goals.

Andruski said being a good public servant is being the face of the office for the public. Open door policies are a given without a need to say such things. Andruski said that as a candidate for the Tax Commissioners office, she wants to be the breath of fresh air that leads to a more engaging office for citizens.

Becky Marshall, Candidate for Gilmer Tax Commissioner

Election, Election 2020

Though being elected for two terms and having almost eight years of experience in the position, Becky Marshall has been in the office of the Tax Commissioner for 16 years.

Married to Danny Marshall with two daughters and five grandchildren, Rebecca “Becky” Marshall has lived in Gilmer County for just under 24 years.

“I feel like I have made a big improvement to the Tax Commissioners office. I feel like I have worked well with the citizens of Gilmer County. I love what I do. I am passionate about what I do. And I want to continue to be available for all the taxpayers if they need me,” says Marshall.

Marshall offered a few of the accomplishments made over the years, but as she listed them, she noted that ‘we’ have done things. She said, “We have gotten the delinquencies caught up. We have been maintaining almost a 99 percent collection rate with all the tax bills… We have cross-trained all staff members so all staff members work in the motor vehicle division and in the property tax division.”

She noted improvements to PC’s over terminals and email contacts for employees, training and improving in customer service and decreasing wait times for citizens, and improving information for citizens to come in and get the information that they need.

Even in the current crisis, simple measures like adding a dropbox outside have made improvements for citizens wishing to maintain little to no contact. Marshall added that past improvements have helped as well like putting services online and allowing citizens to pay bills and attend to things that way have allowed people to stay home. She noted that even those coming in have needed adaptation as she has even said some have phoned and the office has offered curbside service to them.

Marshall said that the office needs to be flexible in these times saying, “It’s going to be a struggle for a lot of people. So, we want to be firm and we want to be strong, but we also want to be compassionate and understanding.”

Even now, Marshall says she wants to keep improving the office, growing with the times. Even though she says that she, personally, isn’t the best at upgrading and using social media, she wants the office to be better in that regard and has been working towards expansions into these realms for some time.

Reaching out is the next step, says Marshall. While some older generations may not use or need the digital upgrades, reaching out to younger generations and incorporating the citizens’ wants and interactions is a part of that step. She said she has considered options like self-service kiosks and convenience for people who work full-time, more open information through social media, and website improvements.

Even cooperations with other departments is improving as she states that the courts, the clerk’s office, the tax assessors office, all of these departments are crucial and communication and cooperation with them are just as crucial.

Marshall says she still has plans for the future, plans to continue improving the office past what they have already achieved. Yet, it isn’t progressing for progress’ sake that drives her. It’s the balancing and bottom lines that provide a sense of correctness and positive energy for her. Maintaining excellence is the force behind her. Continuing the effort and the payoff of her efforts for the office was why she ran eight years ago, and it is why, she says, she is running again this year.

She said, “The office belongs to Gilmer County, it doesn’t belong to me. My paycheck comes from the taxpayers. I want this office to run the way they expect it to run. I want the transparency, I want people to be able to see exactly what’s going on. There is always room for improvement. No matter what you’re doing…”

Sharla Davis, Candidate for Gilmer Tax Commissioner

Election, Election 2020
Sharla Davis

Candidate for Gilmer Tax Commissioner, Sharla Davis is a 30-year veteran of management and accounting positions with companies across Georgia.

Professionally working in accounting, management, and customer service in the Automotive Industry, Davis says she has worked for four of the top-ten Automotive Groups in the Nation. She currently works for Greenway Automotive group. Davis said she has gone through receiving, processing, balancing, and reporting for these groups including dealing with taxes, tax law, and exemptions that already start to cross over into the work as Tax Commissioner.

Two years of experience also comes from the Tax Commissioners office in Gilmer where she worked under current Commissioner Becky Marshall.

Speaking on working and living in Gilmer for five years, Davis said, “I love Gilmer County, my husband [David Hoover] and I moved up here five years ago and it has exceeded our expectations. The people, the landscape, and the area.”

She said that through his support she has gained the courage to pursue her campaign. Davis said that she loves talking with people one-on-one, but has had to rely on his encouragement for large public speaking venues. It is in those moments that little things like saying he is proud of her helps to motivate her through the process.

As Tax Commissioner, Davis said she would want to share this knowledge and training. The office has an accountant and deals with that area, but her experience also affords her management and leadership experience that she wishes to bring to bear and fill into more areas to make the office more successful.

Training and preparation are one of the curves Davis says she is excited to take on. Any new Commissioner has to go through training classes and learn the law aspects and procedures. While this is a learning curve for her, she says, it’s something she is looking forward to as she loves learning and exploring new things.

Accounting is, more so, a talent than a passion, says Davis. She went to school for teaching in Psychology. However, she was already in accounting positions as she worked. Continuing the current business after finishing school, accounting won out as she never really left it. Davis says it is the idea of having things balanced and complete that gives her satisfaction as she has honed a talent “that God blessed me with.”

Exploring those new areas means exploring the position and ways to adapt and improve while also continuing the postive practices already in place.

The Tax Commissioner can help people in the community simply by being accessible, being available. Davis said she wants to be a provider for the community just as much as the collections. Davis said she wants to improve areas of information gathering and distribution for the office. She offered ideas about improving the website and research capabilities, easing confusion of residents about the Tax Commissioners duties versus other departments, taking advantage of social media.

Even in the current situation with sheltering in place and business shutdowns, working with people is key. Adapting to the environment and being a part of the community are the ideas that Davis wants to express. Taking advantage of social media to continue easily accessed and noticeable updates.

Davis said that some of this accessibility she wants to push forward on could include adaptations like talking with the Board of Commissioners and other departments and looking at opening at least one Saturday of each month, even if only for a few hours, to be available for those who may not find the time during the week between work and their lives.

Davis said she wanted to look at options for some employees who may want to look at more part-time availability or adaptive schedules to look at employee’s choices and wants.

Having worked for two years in the office, Davis said she loved that the staff was very knowledgable and friendly. The environment is already in place that she wants to foster. Moving from a denser population towards Atlanta, she said that seeing these people in the office so helpful, kind, and informative was a very exciting change from what she was used to.

Adaptability is key, according to Davis, as she says she brings the experience of positions in need of flexibility. A leader with a positive attitude can work wonders in an office that has laws, software, programs, and needs that are constantly shifting.

“I believe in people before politics,” says Davis. This is an administrative position and the people are who we, as elected officials, serve. Davis said she wants to provide the residents of Gilmer with the most courteous, professional, and accessible service she can provide in a county that she loves.

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

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!!

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