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List your education, family, career, affiliations, etc.

2. Purpose and Qualification.

Explain why you are seeking this office and what skills and/or expertise qualify you for the position.

3. State of the Position.

List three issues that you feel your position is currently facing which you plan to prioritize improving if elected.

4. Goals and Objectives.

List three specific goals that you want to accomplish while in office and explain how you would achieve these goals. Montgomery County Board of Education District 1 Henry Price (incumbent) 1. Hello, my name is Henry Price, and I am the incumbent district 1 BOE member. I have served as the BOE vice chair and currently serve as chairman. I am a lifelong resident of Montgomery County and proud graduate of Montgomery County High School. I am married to Lisa Price, and we have four children who graduated from Montgomery in 2013,2015, 2021, and 2023. My family and I attend Mount Vernon First Baptist Church where I serve on the deacon board and Sunday School teacher. As a family we love our county and gladly serve when and where needed.

2. I choose to run for this office because I wanted to make a difference in my children’s education. I am seeking reelection because I am not finished yet in the things, I would like to get accomplished within the system. While on the school board we built the New Middle/High School with ZERO debit, built a new track and field complex, put lights on all sports fields, started a daycare for teacher retention, and just hired our first full-time superintendent in over a decade. A life of leadership with organizations and business has prepared me for the role of a board member.

3. The major issue I see facing the system is the disconnect or perceived disconnection between board members, and administrators with parents. I think all of this will be solved when the new fulltime superintendent takes the helm in July, and with all our school level administration changes for next school year. With added town hall style meetings to hear parents’ concerns or praises or just hear how they think the system is doing. We as board members are not members to a single district but must make discissions for the whole school district. Unlike other elected positions board members are not the board nor can make decisions for the board alone but have to come together as a governing body with at least 3 members.

4. There is always room for improvement, and I will continue to strive for the best all around education we can provide for ALL our students in Montgomery County. I humbly ask the voters of district one to consider putting me back in office as the district one board member. I will remain committed to excellence in all students and staff and available to all stakeholders. Proven Leader & Committed to inspiring excellence in all.

Mike Lewis

1. I’m a 1988 gradu- ate of Vidalia High School, and 1990 Swainsboro Tech graduate. Been a Montgomery County resident for 24 years. I’m the owner and operator of Vidalia Smiles Dental Lab Inc., which has been in business for 17 years. Married to wife Angie. I have a son, Tye Lewis, and two stepchildren, Chase Barr and Jessie Anderson, and three grandchildren. Enjoy going to the lake and playing golf. Loves going to Georgia Tech sporting events.

2. Being a business owner with a specialty trade, I would try to help get students ready and help to bring more trades into the community to keep the students at home. Academics are important, but more avenues of jobs that students might like or have always wanted to do are also important.

3. Finances are an issue that needs to be handled. I also want to make sure all staff are adequately provided the resources that they need. Also, I would like to see us try to attract high quality teachers and administrators to our area.

4. Support the school system in providing a high quality education so that students could enter college and the world of work fully prepared. Support teachers and administrators and school staff in a way that would enable them to proactively work with students with different needs and capabilities. Also, promote activities within the school system that would enable further participation with the community.

District 2 Susan Beard (Incumbent) 1. My name is Susan Lillard Beard and I am seeking reelection for the Montg omery Board of Education. I am mar- ried to Rob ert Macon Beard who is now retired from Southern Company as a Operations

Instructor. I have one daughter, Kendra Gay Harbuck who is a 1995 graduate from Montgomery County Schools. She is the wonderful mother of her 2 children, Declan who graduated last year and Aidan who will be graduating this year. She is also raising Landon Palmer who is graduating this year and is my bonus grandson. All three of the boys are honor graduates and are the product of Montgmery Co. Schools. Their education at Montgomery County has provided them with the skills they need to be successful in their future endeavors.

2. My decision for seeking re-election is to continue the progress we have made in our school system. Being a mother, grandmother and the only woman board member, brings a unique voice to the board. We have created a positive trend to the Montgomery Co. School System, some of the things we have accomplished as a board include: graduation rate has risen from 89.8 to 97.1. Dual Enrollment participation has substantially increased. We currently average 20 students per semister at Brewton Parker College and nearly 100 per year at Southeastern Technical College. Little Eagle Learning Center our on-Campus daycare is serving as a recruitment/retention tool to attract and keep highly qualified faculty and staff. I am proud to have served on the planning committee of the LELC. Also LELC has provided a peace of mind of having their children close by, if needed.

I have also developed leadership skills and vision casting skills as a result of starting, owning and operating multiple businesses. As a relational person, I have developed beneficial working relationships with many people in Montgomery, Toombs, and Wheeler counties around our region. I currently own and operate James H. Lillard Farms, our family farm.

I continue to hone my leadership skills thru serving. Montgomery BOE – Since 2017, Toombs-Montgomery Vidalia Area Board, 2010-2011 Toombs- Montgomery Leadership graduate, Toombs-Montgomery Library Board of Directors and the Ohoopee Regional Library Board 2014-2020. I am a member of the Montgomery Co. Garden Club and and I volunteer for the JROTC as a grandmother. I am also involved in other community initiatives.

3. Absentees: We must create a positive, welcoming school environment that motivate students to come to school everyday.. We also ensure that students understand the negative impact of excessive absences which can prevent them from graduating.

Focus more on Math and Language Arts during the developmental stages. continued from page

Continue to increase the number of students reading on grade level, continue to implement and teach with fidelity especially the science of reading. Use benchmark assessment to measure progress.

Eagle Learning Center will continue to be an excellent recruiting/retention tool to attract and keep highly qualified faculty and staff. We must be creative in our approach to ensuring our teachers earn competitive wages, and ensure that they receive necessary support from administration.

4. Poverty: we are a poor county. We need to focus on these students more. Children can’t learn without food, electricity and clothing. Peer pressure is definitely a problem. We have our Eagle Thrift Shop which can provide food and resources to help those in need.

Increase parent engagement and communication with our stakeholders using a parent advisory board.

It is vital that our school works closely with the community in all the decision making. What we decide will effect a citizens money and their children. This responsibility, I do not take lightly. I intend to continue to listen to the citizens and officials in order to make the best decisions for our childrens success.

Inna Edwards

1. I grew up in St. Pe- tersburg, Russia, or the USSR as it was known at the time, where I obtained a Master’s Degree in Hy d ro m e chanics Enginee ring, then a Patent Re search Degree from Moscow University. I moved to the USA in 1999, and obtained my Master’s Degree in Mathematics and Computer Sciences from Georgia Southern University. Within two years, even before I defended my thesis, I was offered a teaching position in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences.

I am proud of my long and successful career at GSU, mainly because it satisfied my keen interest in continuous education. I am also proud to have my name displayed on a plaque on the wall of the beautiful Builders of the University Terrace in Statesboro’s GSU campus featuring the teachers who have retired from the university since the school was founded in 1906.

My time at GSU allowed me numerous opportunities to meet many interesting people, people who are exceptionally skilled in their respective fields, remarkable leaders in various areas including a Nobel Prize winner, National Medal of Science recipient, TV and radio personalities, talented educators, dancers and musicians, athletes, prominent politicians, and state governors.

I have been blessed with a happy marriage to my husband, Dr. Darel Edwards, a prominent local optometrist who served the community for over 30 years until his retirement in 2019.

For almost twenty years, I was very much involved with GSU Annual Math Tournament. This annual tournament gathered approximately one thousand students in grades 6-12 from the East Central and Southeast regions of Georgia for rigorous mathematics competitions.

Being recently retired, I enjoy spending my time with my family and pets, and staying active by gardening, biking, and taking yoga classes.

2. Several concerned citizens of Montgomery County have voiced a desire for an experienced educator to run for a position on the Board of Education. There seems to be a strong need to determine the schools’ and students’ needs and to effectively manage the budget so those needs can be met.

Initially, I hesitated to make the commitment that would be required to fulfill this role. I decided to research some of the concerns so I could be fully informed before making my

final decision. I looked at the school system’s website to find the minutes from the BOE meetings, as I was interested in the topics discussed. This was a difficult task. There seems to be a lack of transparency on the website regarding spending information, how the county’s tax money is being spent in the school system. I saw no BOE vision, no mission, and no strategic plan. I did, however, find a report under a general link from the Georgia BOE about Georgia students’ performance in 2011.

I began to see areas where my extensive teaching history at GSU, Ogeechee Technical College, and East Georgia College could be useful.

Now we live in the digital world, and maintaining a website is essential, as it is the cheapest and quickest way to pass information to the students, parents, and taxpayers.

Since the early 2000s, I have noticed that using online learning platforms helps students’ learning abilities. They can practice more with mathematics and increase their performance. I was one of the first faculty members of my large Math Department at GSU to implement online learning practice that greatly improved the passing rate for math courses. After seeing the improvements that could be achieved with online platforms, I sought and acquired a certification for online teaching.

Over the years, I taught thousands of students using the best available methods and some of my former students have become teachers in Georgia themselves. I have received a few letters from thankful students as they graduate and begin their careers. One of my former students from Vidalia published an article about my history in the Toombs County Magazine a few years ago.

I have four grandchildren but none of them attend our Montgomery County Schools, since none of them live in this county; therefore, I DO NOT have any personal interest in the BOE. I simply want to serve my community in the way I feel led to serve.

3. First current issue – Transparency. There is no information on the school system’s website about a BOE strategic plan, vision, or mission. There is no information about current BOE members’ training or qualifications.

We know this Board can totally impact the overall quality of our local schools now and in the future. We want the most qualified and experienced people in charge.

We know our school board makes the decisions that rule how our children/ grandchildren are educated and at the same time how our tax dollars are spent in the county’s school system. Any money spent in this school system should directly improve the students’ learning experiences and/or safety. I am sure the current members are doing what they can at this time, but as community members, we have a right to know more about their plans.

Keeping this BOE work transparent is very simple, yet powerful.

Second current issue – Unknown level of student achievement.

Student success should be the most important goal for any school board. Our BOE should recognize the improvement of student achievements as the main role in governing our Montgomery County public schools. It is critical to ensure that students learn what they need to know to be prepared to be productive in their careers and lives.

The Board distributes recourses, sets policies, and creates conditions for im- continued from page

proving student achievement. This is the primary agenda for the school board.

However, the leading role of the BOE in building public understanding and commitment to improvement of student achievement using participation of local communities, parents/ grandparents, concerning citizens is unclear.

Third current issue – There is no School Board Member's Handbook or instruction booklet to provide guidance for a BOE member. A resource should be available for current and future board members and should include all important information, such as the strategic plan, the mission, the vision, the core values, and a list of roles and expectations for school board members. This resource should also outline the role of the superintendent as the leader of the county’s school system.

There should also be a policy in place that emphasizes the importance of effectively listening to and addressing community concerns. As parents, guardians, grandparents, caregivers, students, teachers, and other school staff feel more comfortable in addressing concerns to the school board, board members should be open to listening and researching concerns fully. Listening effectively and communicating openly will improve the education experience for students and staff in the school system.

The board handbook and the Board performance should be reviewed annually.

4. First goal: The public transparency is the key for any school board and ours needs to be improved dramatically. First and furthermost, the BOE website has to reflect the current situation, provide all the information to the taxpayers and allow the feedback.

School board should keep open and honest lines of communication with community and keep them informed on decisions that are made in the best interests of the Montgomery County.

Elevate board performance with leadership training, workshops, online courses and events. Leverage cutting-edge technology solutions to keep citizens informed.

Take actions to find new and exciting ways to use online tools for improved transparency, such as online surveys and evaluation to increase citizen input, using online resources to make meetings and records accessible to everyone.

Second goal: Improve the leadership of the board by setting the goals, keeping board focused on students learning. Collect, examine, and share data, compare the numbers.

Ask the school teachers and broad range of students to share their ideas how schools could be improved.

What do they think is working? What needs attention?

Do students feel that adults from school know them and care about them?

Which rules and regulations are getting in the way of improvements?

Ask the parents/ grandparents about their experience.

Does anything need to be changed in the educational programs and curriculum?

Listen to the parents who have chosen to home school their children. What challenges they have faced?

What are their expectations for their children?

The board will need to listen intently, study carefully, think creatively, calculate wisely and then act accordingly on behalf of the students in our county.

Third goal: Establish and review the policies that govern the schools operations, curriculum and administration. Develop and approve the strategic plan, the vision, the core values, the mission, the list of the roles of the superintendent and the school board. Use all available resources to learn from best practices for setting visions, goals, and action plans for the BOE.

Publish the School Board Member Handbook and review it every couple of years. Also review the Board performance regularly.

My experience in teaching a very diverse student population has allowed me to be comfortable with various cultures and cultural groups and to learn from them.

I want to be sure that all students are given what they need to reach their highest potential in order to succeed in our quickly changing world.

Montgomery County is my home community and I want to serve in a way that makes a difference.

With your vote I can do that.

Thank you. Andrea “Margie” Miller

1. My name is Andrea “Margie” Williams-Miller. I am a graduate of Montg omery County School. I attended Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro, GA and received an Associate of Applied Science in Funeral Service Education, and master’s in cosmetology. I am the wife of Mr. Herbert Miller, and we have 4 three children, and the daughter Mr. Marvin and Mrs. Minnie Williams. I am a member of Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Ailey, GA.

2. I can represent different groups in the community and ensure that others have a voice in making educational and administrative decisions. As a member, I can be a conduit for the concerns and interests of teachers and parents.

I can help create stronger ties between the school board and other stakeholders.

I have a personal interest in preserving and improving the quality of our school system. A school board functions best with a variety of professional backgrounds and lived experiences around the table. But while nance, HR, and legal skills are all great additions, they’re not the only skills boards need. Soft skills play a large role in a board’s success too. Being able to communicate well, negotiate and lead, as well as work as part of a team, are all key things a Board Member must be able to demonstrate.

3. The health and wellbeing of our students and staff is a top priority for me. Healthy is not merely the absence of disease, but a state of physical, social, and mental well-being. One way we can facilitate wellbeing is through the physical learning environment.

We will need to take a very close look into the fiscal practices of the school board. Too much money is being spent on non-educational items. We need to look at reallocating funds that should be in direct support for our students and those front-line workers in the schools. We must have the best interests of the students as our priorities.

To work towards ensuring that every student in our school district has equitable access to highquality education and resources. I will advocate for policies that address disparities in educational outcomes, support undeserved communities, and promote exclusivity and diversity in our schools.

4. My first goal is to have strong shared beliefs and values about what is possible for students and their ability to learn, and of the system and its ability to teach all children at high levels.

My second goal is to have a collaborative relationship with staff and the community and establish a strong communications structure to inform and engage both internal and external stakeholders in setting and achieving district goals. Be a Unified Board. Stimulate a shared understanding of the team’s goals and objectives, ensuring that each team member has a clear vision of what they are working towards. A goal that is unclear will risk miscommunication and leave employees feeling like they are “stuck in a rut.” As a result, progress and satisfaction are hindered. When you align everyone’s efforts you are instilling a sense of purpose and strengthening unity within the team. District 3 Fernando Rodriguez Pacheco (incumbent) 1. I’m a graduate of MCHS Class of 2009, I at tended Southeastern Technical College, I’m a Journeyman Carpenter out of Local 283 Augusta, GA and currently Enrolled in Western Governors University. My Wife is Amber Rodri – guez also a MCHS Alum and together we have 3 Boys all who attend Montgomery County School System. My current Occupation is a Operations Manager. On my spare time I volunteer at the Rec Department, I am a Board Member of The Charles Nobles Legacy scholarship, Current Board Member at Montgomery County School District. My family and I attend Lotts Creek Church of God.

2. I am seeking Re- Election because I have a passion to ensure our children get the best Public Education possible. We have seen progress as a board during my short tenure and would want to continue to build on that momentum. I am seeking Re-Election to continue to advocate for our students, staff and parents, to keep implementing positive changes and contributing to the betterment of the Education System. I have been in office since January 2023, but my first official school year did not start till later in August of 2023. In the few short months that I have had as a board member we have accomplished and met several goals that we set. We have broken many barriers that once stood, and I believe firmly we are on a upward trajectory. During my tenure I have been able to attend many training sessions where I have learned the importance of making data driven decisions, having effective communication, critical thinking, financial management and learning educational policies which will help me navigate complex educational issues. My everyday work experiences have given me the ability to work well with others, to be open minded and adaptable.

3. Teacher Retention-High turnover rates and difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified educators can impact the stability and quality of education in a school district.

Professional Development- Continuous professional development for teachers and staff is essential to stay updated with the latest teaching methods, technology, and educational research. It helps educators enhance their skills which ultimately benefits student learning.

Student Support Services- Providing comprehensive support services, such as counseling, special education, and intervention programs, is essential to address the diverse needs of students. These services can help students overcome challenges, thrive academically, and foster their overall wellbeing.

4. Increasing graduation rates and college/career readiness- We need to ensure that all students are well-prepared for life after high school. This can be accomplished by implementing programs that support academic success, providing career exploration opportunities, and continuing to offer resources for college applications and financial aid.

Continuing to improve Student Education by advocating for adequate recourses, collaborating with our educators so we as a board can understand the needs of our students and work together to develop educational strategies and programs. Supporting Professional Development by encouraging professional development for our teachers so they can enhance their skills and knowledge, leading to improved instructional practices and student outcomes.

Improving Facilities and Resources by conduct ing regular maintenance and renovations, investing in technology and educational materials, and seeking funding opportunities through Grants. We must take forward steps in creating a well-equipped learning environment that supports the needs of students, parents and staff.

Allen Williamson

1. I am a 2001 Honor Graduate of Montgomery County 2000-2001 FFA President and the 2001 DAR Good Citizen recipient. I married my high school sweetheart, Beth Palmer. Together, we have 3 children Bray (17), Hartley (13), and RheG (8). I attended Southeastern Tech where I received my diploma as an EMT-I and have recorded 1000’s of hours at the GA Fire Academy. I also have obtained my Certified Emergency Managers Certification through GEMA.

2. I have become aware of some issues, in my opinion, that are less than desirable for our local taxpayers. I feel like my time with the Fire Department has prepared me to help in managing these taxpayer funds and spending them in a manner that benefits the children who attend MoCo Schools.

3. Special Education Excessive Spending Getting Montgomery County children back into the Montgomery County School System 4. Advance Montgomery Counties Special Education Department – TRAINING and oversight Stop frivolous spending – during my time with the Fire Department, I received training for creating and maintaining budgets. I also learned how to “stretch pennies” while still providing a progressive service, which I plan to bring that mindset to the Board of Education Athletics are often an important part of the decision-making process for a parent when deciding which school their child will attend. A focus on upgrading our facilities and equipment will be a priority to get the children residing in Montgomery County to attend Montgomery County Schools.

District 4 Eugene “Pete” Ward (incumbent) 1. My name is Eugene “Pete” Ward, Sr. and I am a native of Montgomery County. I graduated from Montgomery Training School in 1967. My other educational experiences are graduate of Brown Business and Barber College in Atlanta, Georgia and Wright Real Estate in Atlanta, Georgia. I am the owner of Pete’s Barber Shop and co-owner of Chase & Pete Trucking Company. I currently serve as the Vice-Chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Education and am a Vietnam veteran. I am a Steward at St. John AME Church. Patricia Ward is my spouse and we have three children, a daughterin- law, and two grandchildren.

2. I am seeking reelection because I am passionate about serving my district and seeing that all of our students are top priority. I have a high expectation for student achievement and quality instruction. I have been on the board for several years and I understand the rules and regulations of a governing school board. I have attended required training for the board and am always willing to learn new innovative things to improve our school system. I have strong ethical values and integrity, collaborate with my fellow board members and constituents 3. I feel the issues which are facing right now are hiring more diverse teachers and hiring more certified teachers. We can obtain this by committing to attend college teachers fairs at various locations. Also, there are paraprofessionals who would like to become certified educators. I believe having a program that provides additional training for them that leads to certification would be wonderful.

4. If re-elected, I will continue to have a working relationship with the administrators and teachers to ensure that the students of Montgomery County Schools are top priority.

Jonathan “Spanky” Hardeman 1. I am a 2001 Honor Graduate from Montgom- ery Co. High School. I have a Bachelors degree from the University of Georgia in Agricultural Education and a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Leadership, also from UGA. I taught Agricultural Education at Dublin High School for 4 years and at MCHS for 8 years. I am married to my wife Erica. We have 2 children, Evan(16) and Ayla(11) who both attend Montgomery County Schools. I am a member of First Baptist Mt Vernon where I have served as Deacon, Sunday School teacher, and Director of Brotherhood. I now work as a beekeeper on my family honey bee farm, Hardeman Apiaries. 2. I am seeking office because I want to humbly serve the students and taxpayers of Montgomery County Schools. I will do this with honesty, integrity, transparency and frugality. As a former educator and business owner I feel I am the best candidate for the job. I not only undersand the day to day operations of a school system, but also understand that fiscal responsibility is crucial for the success of our school system. I want to ensure that our students receive a quality education that will serve as the foundation for their success in life. I will also work diligently with current or newly elected members and stakeholders on policies that will ensure the safety and well-being of ALL Montgomery County students.

3. Improve student safety and overall well-being.

Ensure Fiscal responsibility, accountability & transparency Strengthen teacher quality, recruitment, & retention 4. I would like to see our students receive more options and better tasting meals in our lunchroom. I will work with our nutrition director, Food Science and Agricultural Education teachers to discuss programs such as farm to school and local food for schools grant to offer students more options for an overall healthier and better meal. I will work with current board members or newly elected members to expand on some of the grants that have already been awarded in this area.

I will work with current stakeholders to provide more transparency of the school systems budget and spending habits. It is imperative that our tax

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High School where I was a 4-year letterman in two sports. I was also the continued from page

dollars are being spent in a manner that improves the quality of education of our students while being done in a fiscally responsible and transparent manner.

I would like for Montgomery County Schools to hire highly qualified teachers in ALL subject areas. Not only should we hire quality teachers, but we should also foster an environment that will retain those teachers/coaches in Montgomery County.

Janice Nobles

1. Education: Graduate of Wheeler County High School 1978 Married to Willie Lee Nobles along with my four children and 8 grandchildren, I gained 8 bonus children and several grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.

Career: My first substitution job started at Wheeler County School System. Then later, I got into caretaking by working in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living homes, respite care and community mental health.

Then later, in the early 90’s, I moved from Reidsville, GA, after my divorce. My children and I moved to Mt. Vernon. First, I were a caretaker by night, a substitute teacher by day until I became full-time with the Montgomery County Board of Education until retirement.

Affiliations: Member of Live Oak Missionary Baptist Church and a member of the Oconee Zion Baptist Association.

2. I am seeking this seat because I have heard my people saying they need a voice who will represent them effectively and work tirelessly towards their well-being. They say it’s not so much as making a change, but the students and faculties needs someone on their side.

Qualification: As for this, no I do not have any certified degrees to carry by name. However, I have worked in the school systems 36 plus years and I have had some great mentors along the way. I feel that from working in two public school systems in Georgia for several years, My former positions allowed me to see what was needed then and still today.

I hope to bring experience to the table that would be beneficial to our current board of education.

3. My position if elected are to make sure that our board are addressing the needs of our students first and foremost. That covers every area from academic, safety, athletics and social.

That the students achievement will always be a top priority for our system.

We need the parents to be more involved as well as the community. If they were made more aware of what is going on in our school system it would become better for everyone.

4. My plans to address these issues are to be active in gaining information on the various issues and discussing plans in place, such as diversity in certified employment throughout the school system, fairness and consistency enforced among students and staff.

The most pressing issues are school safety, meeting students needs, students and teachers accountabil- ity, and test scores. How ever in some ways some of these are in process and doing well. There’s a need to discuss students behavior and the punishment towards the students action. That the parents and the students will have an understanding on the punishment. The board has to be about the well-being of the students, faculties and not itself.

County Commission District 1 Angel Gilreath (R) 1. As the daughter of a Baptist minister, I moved often growing up. This taught me flexibility and adaptability.

I also gained varied life experiences.

wanted to give my children something I didn’t have: a place to love and call home. Seventeen years ago, I married my husband, Jeremy Gilreath. He is my greatest comfort and support. He is truly my best friend. We have 4 beautiful children: Hadlea, Paisley, Ford, and Andee. When we met, I was a cosmetology student who became self-employed.

We then made the choice to reach for my dream of serving moms and babies and I returned to school to complete my associates degree in nursing to become a registered nurse. Ten years ago, we moved to Montgomery County and began building our home on land that has been in my husband’s family for generations. While growing our family, working 2 jobs as an RN, and self-contracting our home build, I obtained my bachelor’s degree and was accepted into the prestigious Frontier Nursing University to complete my master’s to become a midwife. I graduated with a 4.0 and passed my national board certification exam. I work locally at a hospital and am living my dream.

Most recently, I completed my doctorate with a focus in healthcare quality improvement maintaining a 4.0 GPA. This taught me to look at dysfunctional systems and fix them using well researched strategies. In all this, I learned to maximize organization, multitasking, prioritization, and perseverance, all of which will be helpful as a commissioner.

I am a proud member of the Mount Vernon Garden Club which may be the best training for commissioner. That precious group of women could run the world. They keep a tight ship and are an excellent example of a welcoming commUNITY.

I am also a member of Connection Church Vidalia where I serve on the worship team and participate in a small group.

I enjoy women’s discipleship and ministry and am a part of a women’s book club, reading books and doing bible studies together. Community is very important to me. I look forward to finding ways to encourage commUNITY throughout the county as a commissioner.

I do not believe that family or affiliation are a reason to vote for anyone.

Elected officials should be placed in positions for their ability, vision, and leadership skills. You may not know my family and that’s ok. I can stand on my own 2 feet in my accomplishments and abilities. Someone’s family is not going to work in your best interest, but I will.

2. When the property assessments increased, I along with candidate Vassey, spoke against the increases leading to them being overturned. I became involved in local affairs to understand the stewarding of tax dollars. I attended county board meetings and researched the budget and county spending. It became evident that there is a current line of thinking that says, “Montgomery County can’t. This is the best we can do: tax the people and pay the bills." However, I disagree. Montgomery County is full of wonderful people who want and deserve a thriving county.

Our children should grow up, get educated and desire to return to raise their children here.

We need more than great fisherman and heavy machinery operators in elected positions.

If we keep doing the same things, nothing changes or improves. That is the definition of insanity.

I’ve been told by current commissioners that their primary focus is county roads. While it is the board’s responsibility to oversee the operation of the road department, we budget and pay someone to run it. Your commissioners should be focused on supervising the departments that report to them, worrying about being fiscally responsible, and county functioning and improvement.

My biggest qualification is that I care. I cared before I decided to run. I decided to run because I care. It shouldn’t be that a person’s involvement in county government starts when they decide they want an elected office. Before deciding to enter this race, I was participating in local meetings and affairs while speaking up for the interests of the people.

I am well versed in multitasking. We cannot have singly focused commissioners. We must juggle being fiscally conservative, department supervision and county improvement.

This also requires critical thinking. I possess this invaluable asset which can be used with my education and research skills to find real solutions to county problems.

I believe strong leader’s welcome accountability while creating other strong leaders around them. They do not do everything alone but engage teams and stake holders in the community to join them to get work done. People in the county are ready to get involved.

They are looking for leaders who will call on them.

That is the commUNITY that will make a difference. I am a leader who can recognize and utilize this strength.

I am creative and am skilled in social media and marketing. This will benefit the county by helping to keep our people informed and engaged. Everyone deserves county information in real time. Not to replace the newspaper but expand access and create transparency.

3. Helen Keller once said, “the only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”. In all the meetings I’ve attended, there is little discussion, little explanation and almost always a unanimous vote. How does a group of 5 come to the same conclusion with such little discussion? Is there a lack of varied viewpoints to contribute different perspectives to the conversation?

We have a county plan that was created years ago that has had very little progress made. I see Montgomery County being revitalized.

Places to shop and eat; activities in which to participate. Some people read that and see dollar signs…

However, if you are moti vated, so much can be done without taxing the people.

However, it will take a board willing to do the work. It’s much easier for some to simply do nothing and others to vote to raise taxes. Each citizen works hard for their money. The goal of the board should be to fund the county while taking the pressure off the people letting them keep as much of their hard earned money as they can.

Currently, Ive seen a lack of commissioners willing to vie for their district.

The history of our country sets the example that elected officials should be removed from their own will to do the will of their people. “No taxation without representation.” was the phrase used because they felt taxation without appropriate representation equaled tyranny. In the last year, I’ve not seen many instances of commissioners contending for the people of their own district. My goal is to work with my district’s city council and citizens to understand their wants and needs. I will work for the county’s best interest, but mainly my district understanding they deserve representation at the county level.

Many times, the citizens of district 1 feel neglected.

They will be my priority.

Again, strong leadership welcomes accountability. Accountability leads to perspective. Perspective leads to wisdom.

Wisdom leads to sound decision making. Transparency is important but lacking in the current BOC. Citizens have the right to know what is happening and how their dollars are being spent. Thessalonians says to abstain from the appearance of evil. Accountability through transparency cuts down on rumors and encourages involvement. The BOC has refused to consider streaming or recording meetings in the past even though the meeting space has the capability.

In today’s world, transparency is free. Social media and video streaming are great ways to give people access to information. Our citizens may be busy or unable to attend meetings, but these are avenues that generations young and old are accustomed to using.

They should be welcomed and utilized.

4. Learning never stops. My goal is to learn everything I can about being a commissioner and to deal kindly with other commissioners in all aspects of county business. I will work to be an asset to the team while representing my district well. My 3 main goals are conservative spending, revitalization, and commUNITY.

Fiscal responsibility is important. A smart lady once said, “a woman can stretch a penny”. I plan to do just that to maintain a sensible budget aimed at optimal function while considering the future of our county. The taxpayer must be the central focus of all decisions and alternate sources used as much as possible when funding projects to complete the county vision.There are many ways other counties fund projects. We do not have to reinvent the wheel.

We can look at plans that have been successful and create one tailored to our goals.

Another financial goal is to vie for our county at the state level for grants and funding opportunities. I feel I can represent the county well visiting the capital, creating close working relationships with our representatives linking the state, county, and city as an ambassador.

Finally, my focus is commUNITY through revitalization and services.

We cannot let our downtown buildings fall. Those buildings are the bones of our history. There are countless grant and funding opportunities to revitalize these areas of our county. It will take a unified community working with leadership to accomplish this task once funding is secured. I am already working with the development authority to work toward this goal. I then hope to see buildings filled with activity and business.

One of the services the citizens are concerned with is the road department. I may not know how to run a motor grader, but I do understand that 204 miles of dirt road in our county must be maintained. We currently have 4-5 motor graders to complete the task and a newly hired department head who was selected due to his qualifications. My goal is to support that end and ensure that the system in place is reli- able. Road use is important for people to get to school and work. We must make it a priority at the county level.

When speaking to citizens, animal control is a consistently mentioned problem. There are grants to fund this very issue. We also have local animal rescues in need of support.

While cities have their own ordinances, a small county like ours may need to work with all the cities to establish a central animal control plan. This will take collaboration from all cities, local rescues, and the BOC to ensure this important work is orchestrated well.

Jimmy “Pedro” Sharpe (R) 1. I was born and raised in Montgomery County, and graduated from Montgomery County High School in 1993. I'm the proud son of the late Mr. And Mrs. Hous ton Sharpe, and am currently the proud father of a 6 year-old girl, Mallory Sharpe, who I enjoy spending time with. I am also a member of Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Kibbee.

I retired after 32 years of service to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

My dedication and commitment to the county began over 30 years ago when I became a volunteer firefighter, and I have also served as the county’s Deputy Emergency Management Director. During the COVID pandemic, I was hired on part-time to assist the county's Road Depart – ment in any task that could not be completed due to staff shortage.

2. I have dedicated most of my life to the citizens of Montgomery County, and now, I’m ready and willing to serve you as a County Commissioner in District 1. I am seeking the office to proudly represent all citizens equally. For the last 20 years of my former career, I worked in a supervising role as a part of the management team. After over three decades working with the State of Georgia, I believe I have learned to lead effectively and to do more with less supply.

I hope to bring this knowledge and skill to my work in the County if elected.

3. Three issues which need to be addressed immediately within office are the county’s road conditions, high taxes, and excessive spending.

The County has several roads – both paved and dirt – that need repair and improvement; with my tenure and experience as a part of the Road De partment, I believe I can use my knowledge to help work alongside our Road Department Director to accomplish this task.

Taxes are always an issue for citizens, and I hope to explore new options to work to get taxes as low as possible.

It is the duty of the government to ensure that taxpayers’ money is being spent wisely and effectively; thus, I believe it is necessary that the County review its spending to make sure that the finances are being handled as well as possible.

4. If elected, I plan to work to create a more transparent County Commission, to improve dirt roads, and to stop any wasteful spending. Working alongside the fellow County Commissioners, I plan to use my efforts diligently so that the citizens of Montgomery County may be able to see how and where their tax dollars are being spent, and to ensure that money is not being wasted on frivolous spending.

District 2 Tim Williamson (Incumbent) (R) 1. I am married to Debbie Williamson and we have two children and both are married. We are expecting our first grandchild this August.

I have a ba c h e l o r ’s degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and I have worked with Georgia Power for the past 25 years. My wife, Debbie, works with the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services in Mount Vernon. My family and I aGend Higgston Bap tist Church.

2. I am seeking re-election to continue to serve the citizens of Montgomery County. I have lived in Montgomery County all my life and have raised my family in the county. I and both of my children attended Montgomery County schools and participated in the county’s recreation program. I am vested in this county and want to see it prosper. Over my career, I have dealt with project budgets, critical thinking, spending, and working

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with others. I have worked with many different people, and I know how to interact effectively to accomplish goals. I have been hearing some untruths about the current Board of Commissioners and I urge everyone to ask questions for themselves and not assume others are leading them correctly. I am running for re-election to give the people an opportunity to get the truth.

If elected, I will represent District 2, but my dedication will extend to the welfare of the entire community.

3. Our most important issue in the county is public safety. Our sheriff’s office, EMA, EMS, 911 center, and volunteer fire department are critical to keeping our citizens safe. We never know how much you need them until you need them. The commissioners work closely with each of these departments to make sure they have the training, equipment, and personnel necessary to keep our citizens safe. It is important that these departments are equipped and trained to serve our citizens.

Next, is the county budget. Our County has very limited funds and it is very important the spending is scrutinized and justified. A good solid budget is the heart of a well-run County. The Board of Commissioners has a fiduciary duty to monitor the annual budget and spending carefully. Maintaining and operating the county government within that budget is important to our success. When the Board is faced with budget challenges, we can only consider solutions that will keep the county in a balanced budget position.

Lastly, the county needs a diverse revenue stream. Most of the county’s budget is from property taxes. In Fiscal Year 2021, property taxes accounted for 72% of total collected revenues, 71% in Fiscal Year 2022 and 70% in Fiscal Year 2023. Even though this has gone down by around 1% per year, more needs to be done.

This means over two-thirds of the county’s revenues are derived from property taxes. The commissioners are continuously looking for grants and other ways to offset the tax burden on our citizens for road repairs, needed building upgrades, and equipment.

The County has just received a $3 Million grant from the Georgia Depart- ment of Natural Resources for improvements to our recreation department that are much needed. The development authority has been working diligently to bring businesses into the area. The growth of the County needs to be a team effort and should include all the cities, school board and leaders in the community. I think the commissioners have an opportunity to help the development authority prepare the county for future business.

4. I want to keep the County spending as low as possible. Contrary to many beliefs, the County spending is of upmost importance to the commissioners and is considered on every purchase. Nothing is purchased without the commissioners reviewing the budget and understanding how it will impact our bottom line. Everything has a cause and effect. Something may look good for now, but how will it affect the budget in the future.

Work with the development authority, other commissioners, city council members and the school board to develop a plan to bring more revenue to the County. I believe it will take the entire County to work together to move our County forward. As I stated above, I support the entire County. If we can help the cities bring in business, the entire County will prosper. We need to educate our citizens on how shopping locally impacts our taxes. If money is spent in our County, it is applied to the Local Option Sales Tax revenue in our budget which will reduce our property taxes.

Our recreation department has seen significant improvements recently, and I am committed to continuing this support. Introducing our children to the fundamentals of football, soccer, basketball, softball and baseball at a young age can set the stage for competitive sports in both middle and high school. By nurturing local talent early, we ensure that our school sports teams are strong and competitive, which helps retain our students within the county, rather than losing them to neighboring areas. As I mentioned, my family and I have personally participated in recreational sports in Montgomery County. It is crucial that your chosen candidate fully supports our local community.

Amie Vassey (R)

1. I earned my bachelor’s degree from Valdosta State University with a summa cum laude distinction after graduat i ng with honors from Mont- gomery County High School. I have been in the workforce for 22 years.

The last 14 years I have been employed by Re public Services right here in Montgomery County where I serve as an Operations Manager. My current role spans across multiple counties and requires fiscal responsibility and attention to detail. Climbing the ladder in a corporate male dominated industry hasn’t been easy, but it is a testament to how hard I work. I have been married to Travis Vassey for almost fifteen years. I am beyond blessed to have such a wonderful supportive husband in my corner. The Lord gifted us with two amazing children: Wyatt and Abigail. I make it my daily mission to raise them to be positive contributors to society. I am a direct descendant of Asa Adams who was part of one of the original founding families of Montgomery County, so this county is extra special to me. I won’t try to wow you by name dropping my entire family tree.

Don’t vote for me because of who my family is. Vote for me because you believe I will work for you! Vote for me because my actions over the last twelve months should show you, I am the best person to represent district 2.

2. I am seeking office for three main reasons.

First, I know I will do a better job than Tim Williamson. We need a problem solver, an action taker, an innovative thinker, and a consistent voice for the people; I am each of these things. During my career, I have learned you can be a leader without formal authority, and you can have formal authority and lack the ability to lead. If current leadership was adequate, I wouldn’t be seeking office. My career has provided me with a wealth of knowledge and experience including budgeting, financial forecasting, auditing, ethical leadership training, building action plans, participating in the municipal bid process, as well as understanding code and ordinances, all of which will serve me well as County Commissioner. Furthermore, being in the transportation industry I have received training in heat considerations, emergency action plans, strategic routing, and heavy equipment misuse and abuse which will allow me to understand and coordinate with our Road Department. Second, I pledge my support to property tax relief for Montgomery County citizens. I will vote in favor of the new homestead exemption passed by the Sen- ate and House which will appear on the citizen’s ballot in November. It takes local leadership support to enact in Montgomery County. We must change the culture in Montgomery County to a citizen focused government. Our people are our biggest asset. We must listen to them and do what is right for them.

Last, but most important, I am seeking office to set an example for my children that it is necessary to have the courage to stand up for what you believe, even in situations where you have no control over the outcome. Stand up anyway and do it with no fear and no regrets.

3. Three main issues facing the leaders in our county are taxes and finance, transparency, and revitalization. I will detail those in my response on question 4. The largest issue we have is residential property taxes. Please don’t be fooled by the recent assessment news. You may remember last year when I researched the cost point study completed by the board of Tax Assessor’s and stood in solidarity with over 100 citizens as we convinced them to toss out the erroneous assessments.

You likely also remember when I helped a group of 1,300 citizens spearhead a petition filed in Probate Court attempting to freeze the taxable value of our homes. There are over 150,000 acres of land in our county. Of that, only 7,000 are residential homes. Yet, residential property taxes are the largest funding source for our county. This MUST change. The only way to do that is to create new revenue streams.

This can be accomplished in many ways by addressing issues such as tourism, revitalizing downtowns, code enforcement, and planning and zoning. Getting people into our county is half the battle. Sales tax revenue will follow the visitors; they will spend their money at our gas stations and our restaurants.

It may seem impossible to some, but the fact is it can be done. We aren’t the first county in the history of the United States of America to encounter this problem.

There are countless success stories across our nation of counties overcoming this very obstacle. We must be willing to do the research and hard work to replicate that same success. I know what you are thinking.

Tourism? In Montgomery County? It is easy to brush o this concept. However, to find the solution is much more challenging and requires research and critical thought. An example of a popular tourism event to make good use of our beautiful natural resources here in Montgomery County would be an annual fishing tournament with food trucks on the riverbanks, entry fees for contestants, and donated prizes for heaviest fish, longest fish, etc. People come from all over the region to participate in these sorts of events.

That is just a glimpse of some of the research I have been doing. We need innovative leaders who are willing to pursue new ideas.

It will take hard work and cooperation from multiple people across multiple departments. Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

It is time to do things differently in Montgomery County. If elected, I am committed to being that constant driving force to coordinate improvement and achieve results.

4. My top three goals are: create new revenue streams to provide property tax relief, bring transparency to our citizens, and clean up Montgomery County. First, revenue streams can be created through tourism, revitalizing downtowns, and code enforcement etc. I have recently partnered with the Development Authority and have already cohosted two meetings with downtown vacant building owners to discuss grant funding options, grand opening timelines, and several exciting tourism events. We have recently completed a building inspection, repair quotes, fundraiser list, etc on a most treasured historic building in Alston.

I have also spoken with State Representative Leesa Hagan and the Georgia De partment of Community Affairs who have pledged their support and resources for this concept. These people are eager to help us. Also, with the recent Department of Natural Resources funding our rec reation department should be capable of becoming a destination athletic tournament event venue for South Georgia. If managed correctly, with an admission fee for spectators, this could be a very beneficial revenue stream for our county. Second, transparency means keeping our citizens informed. Over the last year, I have attended as many county meetings as possible and posted a thorough recap on social media. As a Commissioner, I would place this burden of transparency/social media ownership directly on the county where it belongs.

Finally, cleaning up Montgomery County can be achieved by implementing what I like to call intellectual infrastructure. Basically, we need the appropriate codes, intergovernmental agreements, planning and zoning, and a cohesive vision to serve as a solid foundation for our county.

If that foundation isn’t strong, we can never expect success. Over the last year, I have met with the Lucky Dog Rescue Ranch, the Ur – ban Revitalization Group, and other stakeholders to learn more about the challenges in our county. It is important for the county to understand what Uval- da, Alston, Higgston, Tar rytown, Ailey, and Mount Vernon need from us, so we can understand how best to support them. According to state law, the county and cities are required to create a Joint Comprehensive Plan to serve as a basic road map for our future. I have read the plan; it is quite good. The problem is: we need leaders who are willing to turn that concept plan into an ACTION plan. I have completed the things mentioned above as an average citizen. Imagine what I can do for you as your County Commissioner? The old saying goes, “the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” That first bite will be taken on May 21st. This is arguably the most important election in our county in decades. It is truly about what the voters want. We are at a crossroads. The citizens have the power and responsibility to point our county in the right direction.

Stephanie Ivey (D)

1. I graduated from the Montgomery County School System and attended Brewton Parker College from which I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree.

I received my Med from Troy University. I am the proud parent of 3 blessed children, Zari, Zanaya, and Zavion. I have one grand child, Ashtun Singletary. I own and operate Love & Support Counseling and Consulting, LLC. Love & Support Counseling and Consulting LLC provides community-based services for individuals living with intellectual/ developmental disabilities. The agency has been in existence since 2008. I have been invested with the Intellectual/developmental population for 29 years. I am a member of Victorious Empowerment Church where I serve on the Church Board, Finance Committee, and serve as Assisting Director of the Daughters of Victory.

2. I am seeking the office of County Commissioner for the 2nd District of Montgomery County because I feel that as a homeowner, as an entrepreneur for 16 years, and that I have under my employment 30+ employees, I bring a unique skill set or expertise and community concern to the position. First, I have a working knowledge of fiscal policy or responsibility when it comes to spending the peoples’ tax dollars wisely and effectively. Secondly, I have experience in prioritizing spending that serves the best interest of the people whom I serve. Thirdly, I will use the acronym V.I.S.A to explain my third reason: V is for the vision that I will bring to the office of County Commissioner. A vision to explore new industries that can be brought to the county for growth to make it an attractive place to live.

I is for integrity by being fair, just, and honest. S is for structure. I pledge to work hard with the board to make sure things are done as stated in 1 Corinthians 14:40: “decently and in order.” A is for accountability. I will work tirelessly with the board to make sure that we are accountable for every dollar spent, every promise kept, and every act accomplished.

3. Three issues that I feel currently facing the people of Montgomery County include the following.

1. Infrastructure. My discussion of infrastructure highlights unpaved roads to be specific. I will work closely with members of the County Commission to make an effort to make sure all roads, especially roads along school bus routes, are safe for the transportation of the student population.

2. Streetlights. I’ve spoken with some residents in the county who are concerned about proper streetlights in certain areas in the county. As a county commissioner, I represent my district, but I feel that we are elected to serve all the people in Montgomery County.

3. County Taxes I will work continuously to become informed about how taxes are used and paid reasonably, based on income and property value. There should be transparency in the process, I feel. Taxes have always been a challenge and will continue to be; however, as a servant of the people of Montgomery County, I pledge to be fair and forthright when it comes to solving tax issues.

4. Three goals that I want to accomplish while in office are as follows: 1. I want to work collaboratively with the other commissioners in keeping the people we serve informed about any issues that concern them. This can be done by holding town hall forums whereby the people are permitted to ask questions and/or air any grievances that they may have. An informed constituency is a productive constituency.

2. I plan to conduct a yearly needs assessment survey to get an informed understanding of the needs of the people whom I serve.

3. I want to, while working collaboratively with the board in another effort, remain ingenuous, and post through the media (newspaper) a yearly account of all expenditures.

Someone aptly said, “If you want to run fast, run alone, but if you want to run far run together.” I say to the citizens of Montgomery County and specifically the 2nd district: Let's run FAR by running together to make Montgomery County one of the most prosperous, progressive, and productive counties in the state of Georgia.

District 3 Ginger Byrd Morris (Incumbent) (R) 1. I graduated from Mo n t gomery County Schools and attended Brewton Parker College, University of Georgia, and Tift College for my undergraduate degrees. I obtained my advanced educational degrees from Georgia Southern University. I hold an Educational Specialist (Ed. S) degree in Educational Leadership. I retired as an Assistant Superintendent for the Vidalia City School continued from page

System and currently serve part-time as a School Improvement Specialist in the Montgomery County School System.

I am a member of the First Baptist Church of Mount Vernon and serve as a Sunday School teacher to college and career adults. I also serve as a Trustee for Brewton-Parker College.

I am a past Chair of the Greater Vidalia Chamber of Commerce.

I am the daughter of Tommy Byrd and the late Virginia Byrd. I am married to Allen Morris, and we have two daughters, Jade Morris Wells and husband Trent and Jesslen Morris Holcomb and hus – band Randall and my rst grandchild, Hayden Mont – gomery Holcomb, born in March 2024. As a commissioner, I am affiliated with the Association of County Commissioners (ACCG). In my first term as commissioner, I was asked to serve on the statewide Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) Committees and Boards as a member of the Lifelong Learning Committee to review and develop courses for commissioners to provide continuing education on the various roles and responsibilities of being a commissioner.

2. I am seeking reelection as commissioner because I believe there is still work to be done. We have moved our county forward but there is still a lot to accomplish. This office requires the ability to work well together, to have a vision for the future, and to be able to execute that vision. My entire life has been of service to others in my role as an educator. I believe my skill set and expertise as an educator and administrator serves me well in working with others and within a budget to meet the goals and needs of our community. In my roles as teacher, building level administration and system level administration, I have developed a strong skill set in working as a team, listening to the needs and concerns of the public, creating and executing visions for our future, and working within a budget to meet the needs of our community. As a previous Federal Programs Director, I understand funding, grants, and the need to maximize them for our community. I know that my training and experience as a current commissioner will continue to benefit the county and our communities going forward.

3. Three issues facing our county that I will prioritize as commissioner are property tax concerns, infrastructure, and safety. As we know, our community is concerned with property taxes. Last spring, I spoke in a community forum regarding my concerns that this issue was not just a local issue but a state issue that needed to be addressed at that level with the influx of people moving into our state. Listening to my constituents, I spoke with state leaders, ACCG leadership and asked that this be addressed at that level.

Our voices were heard and House Bill 581 addressing this concern was sent to the Governor for his signature this legislative session. I look forward to seeing relief for the citizens of our community. I will also work to seek funding from diverse sources and not just property owners.

Infrastructure is one of the main responsibilities of county commissioners.

It is our responsibility to see that all roads within our jurisdiction are maintained and open for travel and business in our county.

I will prioritize upkeep of the roads, replacement of pipes where needed and maintaining ditches on all roads to ensure the safe travel of our citizens.

Lastly, I will prioritize public safety. This includes the Sheriff’s office, 911, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and fire protection. This too, is a top responsibility and concern as a commissioner. My goal is to guarantee that the safety needs of our citizens are met in a quick and efficient manner by addressing the needs of our public safety departments so they can be effective in their respective roles.

4. The three goals I want to accomplish this term include road improvement, updated recreational facilities, and county/city cooperation. Good roads are important for the safety of our citizens and for economic viability. I will work with other commissioners and our Road Department to develop and execute a plan for tackling the road concerns in a timely and efficient manner. I will work to secure grants at the federal level giving us more funds to work on additional road issues such as full depth reclamation and resurfacing of existing paved county maintained roads.

The $3 million dollar funding we were just awarded will allow us to upgrade to a state of the art recreational facility that will be able to host athletic events at the regional and state level as well as other community events that will boost our economy and businesses in the community. This facility will also afford activities for all citizens and increase the health and well-being of our community at no cost to the taxpayer!

Lastly, if we are to grow as a county, it requires that we work together as a county and individual cities within the county.

While commissioners have no jurisdiction in cities, we must have a spirit of cooperation for the good of the county. In doing so, I will prioritize working with city and county leaders to develop and maintain our comprehensive plan where each city is heard, and where needs are addressed and prioritized so that we can all benefit in our county. As I have said before, “Working together, we all achieve more!”

Charles Greg Palmer (R)

1. As a lifelong citizen of Montgomery County for 68 years, my family’s roots have been and still are in Agriculture, Timber Growing, Education and Serving the Taxpayers of Montgomery County as a County Commissioner. My parents were Charles and Carolyn Montford Palmer and I followed along in both their footsteps in Agriculture and Teaching along with my only sibling Bonnie PalmerPeery. Iam married to Marilyn Melissa Wooten Palmer from Wheeler County and we together have 3 children involved in various public related occupations. Both Melissa and Myself are still actively employed by Montgomery and Treutlen County Public Schools and value OUR Employments with the local systems for the last 33 plus years. My Family relocated from North Carolina in the early 1800’s and our family has resided at the same family farm location for all those years. Both Melissa and I are of the Baptist Faith and are members of The Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

We love OUR Montgom ery County and would be lost living anywhere except here.

2. My desire to seek The Office of County Commissioner is a very simple question with a very simple answer; ALL Montgomery County Citizens Pay Taxes which consists of County, State, Timber, Federal, Sales, Tags, inheritance, utilities, home, car insurance, vehicle, alcohol, home heating gas, car and truck gas, and many more)!

WE ALL PAY TAXES which is collected and redistributed back to fund8OUR COUNTY op erations. Commissioners are guardians of YOUR tax dollars making sure citizens are getting the MOST from OUR tax dollars.8 Your Elected Commissioners decide how and when your tax dollars are spent.

I want what MOST citizens want and expect and that is proper spending and accountability (transparency) of those dollars to fund road projects, county office operations, recreation for us and our children, safety, fire rescue and law enforcement services to name a few. I feel that OUR Current Commis sioners have let us down and NOT USED OUR Tax Dollars WISELY to solicit JOBs and provide proper services for OUR Families.

I can positively say that during my prior 8 years as your commissioner I supported measures to allow full Transparency of Your Tax Dollars, implemented safety measures, voted against wasteful spending, and fought for wants and needs of you as the Tax Payer Expect. In other words, “I can assure you that I am NOT controlled by special groups in OUR County that want and expect favors from our Elected Officials. To summarize, I feel my prior 8 years of being The Peoples Working Commissioner that I fought to establish projects (4 way stop on 135/280 Higgston Junction, 1% sales tax for Courthouse tenovation, reconstruct various road projects in Ailey, Bear Creek, safety measures at 4-way stops, at the same time demanding accountability, recreation upgrades, animal control measures, Fire Department Equipment upgrades, and too many Road Projects to list, at the same time always voting Against Wasteful spending, prove these and other accomplishments demonstrates that I am THE only Qualied Can – didate for YOUR district 3 Commissioner. When voting begins April 29th, remember the office of Commissioner is NOT a Popularity Contest and you as a tax payer should want a commissioner with a track record addressing problems and getting results while holding the line on wasteful spending projects that address only the selected few. 3. Platform or Mea- sures I feel that HAVE to be addressed in OUR County are job creation/development, roads/bridges infrastructure, and holding people accountable to perform their county duties. These accomplishments along with making citizens aware of Government in Action through Transparency will elevate OUR County to where families want to relocate, live a productive life, raise their families to have a productive stake in life. These are just a few and there is much to be corrected and addressed in order for OUR County to function and surpass operations on a level as our neighboring counties. We have to involve citizens in county projects through investment and contributions to improve conditions for themselves and theirfamilies. Thisisdictated through Grants not cost sharing (pet projects) that do little to benefit the wants and needs that OUR Citizens should be guaranteed through their tax contributions and citi- zenship in OUR County! Most citizens don’t know that a number of counties were “carved from” OUR Montgomery Coun ty. Beginning in 1801 a portion of Montgomery County was given to create Tattnall, followed by portions cut out for Dodge, Telfair, Toombs, Wheeler, and lastly Treutlen in 1918 which presents the question of how some of our neighboring counties progressed with business development, infrastructure, and progress that has taken advancements from Montgomery County.

There were campaign slogans issued from current sitting commissioners of how “working together” to improve Montgomery County benefits the community BUT from where I stand from my tax bill speak differently. It was only a few months ago that Citizens received their Tax Bills to see a 60% tax increase in property taxes but was contested by TICC members and forced to roll back tax bills to the previous years amount. If you remember 2 of the sitting Commissioners held a community seminar about how the property taxes would be raised by 80% this year if the 60% wasn’t levied this past year. It looks as the accomplishments from the last 4 years were buying more new expensive equipment, passing every measure that was presented by the County Manager, throwing money into expensive “pet projects” that have little benefit or no lasting affect to show for OUR community. These tasks can ONLY be accomplished with a new sitting majority of commissioners that have new ideas, creativeness, involvement, and cooperation that only a new majority (3 new seats) on the Montgomery County Commissioner Board will offer.

4. If Elected to my (ird Term as YOUR County Commissioner I would make it my prior- ity TO HOLD THE LINE ON TAXES by cutting unnecessary and wasteful spending that offers little or no lasting affect for the progression and devel- opment of OUR county. This can be accomplished through holding a tight line on spending, seeking grant money to promote worthwhile projects, and promote growth and development which in turn will raise tax revenues to promote solicitation of business development. This will also bring jobs that OUR citizens so desper ately need.

I am also an ADVOCATE of PUBLIC SAFETY. Through past terms as Commissioner, I have worked to make Montgomery County safer for its residents. I am always on call to offer assistance when natural disasters strike and feel it is just one of the many duties other Commissioners have neglected whileinoffice. I demonstrated my commitment numerous times when the needs have arisen. I was not MIA when we had all our road closure issues during flooding, I helped supervise the Ger- man Shepard Rescue e-ort in Higgston, pushed for safety measures throughout the county, and will continue to SUPPORT a well-equipped SHERIFF'S OFFICE, FIRE AND RES CUE STATIONS, EMA, and FIRST RESPONDER and other PUBLIC SER VICES. I also am going to push for a new FIRE/RES CUE STATION for The Northwestern / Bear Creek area by soliciting grants and State Available Funding.

The Northwestern/Bear Creek Residents NEED a Fire Station to lower their ISO rating (most expensive of the ISO ratings) in the county not to mention the protection of their family’s safety. I still vow, as I did during my last tenure as county commissioner, to donate the property across from my residence at Hwy 221/199/Hobson Wells Junction. This Northwest/ Bear Creek area of Montgomery County is NOT covered by ANY other station and is the reason the citizens of this area face such extreme insurance premiums.

Lastly, I will continue to seek moneys and grants to provide ENVIRON – MENTAL PROJECTS that citizens should be intitled to through their citizenship in Montgomery County. Our Citizens would enjoy the benefits that other surrounding counties have such as Prof- itable Recreation Facili ties, Farmers Market, surrounded by a safe park and walking paths. The abovementioned projects and many more are possible through public participation, investment, and community involvement which doesn’t seem to be a priority at the present. People from other areas are always searching for enjoyment, relaxation, and a great and safe place to relocate and build homes and raise successful families. I offer and strive for YOUR Support for Montgomery County Commissioner.

Charlie Robison (R)

1. I am a lifelong resident of Montgomery County and have lived in Ailey all of my life. other than the 4 years I spent in college at Emory University. I am a 7th generation farmer and am currently still working on the farmland. I served 2 years on the Montgomery County School board, served on the Vidalia Onion Committee and am currently a director at Montgomery County Farm Bureau Insurance Co. I am a member of the Ailey Community Methodist Church formally Ailey United Methodist Church.

2. I am seeking this seat for one reason. I want to help the county. As a landowner I have been paying taxes for a long time. As a business owner I have experience analyzing budgets. If elected my main goal is to increase the efficiency of the County government by assuring that every dollar is spent prudently.

3. Make sure that the money is spent efficiently.

Try to increase tax revenue other than by raising taxes. Ex: by local sales tax – we need to cultivate more retail business and support these businesses. There are currently 2 solar farms being developed in our county and they should be used to offset a portion of our taxes.

From my perspective there is a lack of long-term planning in the county.

I believe as a county we need to sit down and prioritize what goals we as a county would like to achieve. It’s hard to get to a destination when you don’t know where you are going.

Change is coming and we need to control it.

4. Lower taxes by using a budget.

Help the county have a long term plan. Increase county revenue through any means other than raising taxes.

Linda Jackson Page (D)

1. Life taught me very early to cherish every moment we are given to love someone here on earth.

1968 to 1973 I birthed 3 babies and buried the first after his short 3 days on this earth. Life is meant to make you humble, caring and concerned for others.

Education GED at 18 Brewton Parker college @ 40 (Summa Cum Laude) with a BA/History, BS/History-Secondary Ed., Minor in Political Science, at 40. 1994 (Summa), Georgia Southern – MA-History/Social Stud ies (Summa), Georgia Southern – EdS History/Social Studies(Laude), Northcentral University – EDD Ed. Admin and Supervision (Summa) I am married to a wonderful man (40 years), a Mother to 4 very societally productive children, grandmother to 10 grandchildren and great-grandmother to 5 great-grandchildren.

(and they are GREAT, as Tony the Tiger would say).

I am involved in many local organizations or have worked with many great charities. It is impossible to name them all here. I am a proud member of the Vidalia, Montgomery and Treutlen County Lions Club and serve as the Vendor Coordinator for the Vidalia Lions Club Arts and Crafts Show. I am a member of the McGregor Presbyterian Church in McGregor, Montgomery County, GA.

-I am a member of the Montgomery County’s Development Authority’s Scholarship Grant Committee.

– I served on the Montgomery County Board of Tax Assessors. – I am currently the President of the Montgomery County Garden Club Other memberships or Volunteer positions include, but, aren’t limited to the following (the Advance told me I was limited in my continued from page

words and that’s a hard one for me. Life and my love of people keeps them coming to me).

-I served as Assistant Manager for Mount Vernon (now 3rd District) Voting Polls for 14 years.

Volunteer @ -United Way of Toombs, Montgomery and Wheeler Counties Allocations Committee.

-Toombs County Ag Center Food Drives -BPC Committees for a Multitude of events and clubs Downtown Vidalia (with Paula Toole guiding me and allowing me to help with some very special projects.

CASA Vidalia Onion Festival from its very beginning Handing out water at the the Vidalia Onion Festival race Coke booth volunteer traffic director (almost run over several times and amazed I am still here) Downtown Association’s Onion Festival sales, information and onion ring booth, to name but a few.

Youth Leader – Tabernacle Baptist Senior Adult Leader/ Coordinator/ General Flunky for their plans for me to plan……loved every minute of it.

Sunday School Teacher (with the wonderful Mrs. Jean Colson Barnes) for what our lively and most beautiful older women described as the “Last Class Before Heaven" Class -Homeroom Mother for all my children’s Vidalia City School Elementary grades. 2. As a child I moved frequently. My mother and stepdad (#4) moved to Vidalia when I was 15 (10th grade), my 27th School move between 4th & 10th grade.

I longed for a home and stability as I had known my first 6 years of life, growing up in my grandparents’ house. That stability was to be elusive for 5 more years.

Within weeks of the start of my10th grade year I transferred to TCHS, my stepdad, as usual, made a 2 week paycheck and disappeared. It was then that I decided to strike out on my own and get back to Grandmother’s; but fate was not to have it.

That weekend I was on my first date (ever) with a TCHS Senior and told him of my plans. On our second date he asked me to marry him. I did and began my life as an adult.

Thus, I logged a few more moves and that permanency evaded me still. I still longed for permanency as my new husband be- gan a military career. How ever, those moves and new (many lifelong) friends and experiences were beneficial and full of great life lessons.

Soon after my husband’s initial training, as we began to move around this country, my Mother and Step-father moved to Mount Vernon. My stepdad walked the aisle of a small country Church and was truly an example of how God can and will change a person completely.

After a few years, my husband was assigned to the local Recruiting sta tion and we moved back "Home". We lived in Mont – gomery County for a brief time and then to Vidalia, within a few years we divorced. I raised the children and worked as a Door Repair Woman and Lock smith with my stepfather in a business we built together.

In 1993, I remarried a local guy and when Our 4 children were grown we bought a home in the north end of Montgomery County (formerly owned by Roger and Majorie Ed wards) where I had longed to be since moving back in 1976. Montgomery’s “good folks” reeled me into a sincere and great love for the regular folk, like me. I want to be the voice of the many, not the few! I want my grandchildren and great grandchildren to live and thrive here in this wonderfully rural area.

I love this County and especially interactions with Our’ citizenry. I want to be your Voice, listening to everyone who wants to be heard and join me in a Conversation that leads to a productive future of growth and employment opportunities for future generations.

I humbly ask for your vote. Let’s build a bright future for All of Us not just a chosen few.

3. Number one is Transparency of the County’s business. This is first on my list as a priority to make it well known that I am accessible and my main focus is on Our Country’s citizens, especially in my district and work to solve issues and answer their questions. If I have to do research to find answers for them I will get back to them after my research is completed as thoroughly as possible. Commissioners are not elected to serve the few but to walk beside All Our citizens listening, intently to them and seeking the best resolution to all issues.

Secondly is Taxpayer’s taxes and pushing forward to create Tax Initiatives that will support all citizens and their taxes as we move forward into the uncertainty of our County’s tomorrows with a large group of aging citizens. MOCO’s government isn’t but should be a Government of the People of MOCO not a select few who don’t see the people who pay the taxes as the reason they are in office. We need to change that this election season.

Third, but as important as others, assuring our County moves into this digitally controlled age so that our county is transparent Online using the digital age’s technology effectively to keep citizens informed.

I will push and work with my colleagues to assure that all the County’s business (not covered by laws with regard to individual personnel), is easily accessible online from an individual’s phone or laptop.

Again, I humbly ask for your vote. Let’s build a bright future for All of Us not just a chosen few.

4. 1. Transparency in our County Government to the highest level possible. I will work with other MOCO government entities and offices to create meeting schedules that work to coordinate meetings within the County. I will also move forward diligently, from day one, to coordinate with our many Boards to create meeting times and places that are convenient to all citizens. One of my first initiatives will be to speak directly with citizens and garner their ideas and recommendations for moving forward with our plans.

2. Develop a comprehensive plan with Our other Commissioners, elected officials and local Boards to create an open door policy with other offices and Boards to assure that we are accessible to All Citizens of the County. This, again, begins with door to door and public meetings to garner what the Citizens see as the major roadblocks to communication between elected, appointed officials and the public at large. It must be followed up with continued conversations with open meetings and forums where Citizens of Montgomery County can be heard. These meetings should be built around open dialogue between elected officials and leaders of all organizations, surveys and face-to-face interaction with the all Montgomery County Citizens and Organizations that choose to be involved.

3. Be a Servant Leader who is available, as possible, by leading in not only matters of Government. I want to be a true Community leader that works with all organizations and citizens to build a Coalition that will stand together and work diligently to make everyday life better for everyone in Our County. We have many people who are in need. The needs of our Community are complex but yet simple. There are those who need someone to help them understand how to apply for aid that is readily available to those in need but don’t know who and what is available to help them. Together we can bring positive change for Our future..

We need to create a group/s that will reach out to one another to garnar what needs are specifically needed and the who, where and how we organize our Montgomery County Helpers Society to aid ev ery citizen in their quest to live a good and productive life in our midst.

I humbly ask that you consider and will vote for me. your fellow Montgomery County Citizen, as your next District 3 Commissioner in May and again in the November Election of this Cycle. Your vote for me will launch us forward to our Future direction.

Let us tread this next 4 years together and fulfill our destiny of being the Small Rural County every other small county in our great nation aspires to emulate.

Thank you all, Linda Page “Lead your life so you wouldn’t be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.”

Will Rogers

Toombs County Sheriff Jordan Kight (R) 1. I am Jordan Kight, and a I am a lifelong resident of Toombs County. After graduating from To o m b s Coun- ty School, I went on to receive my bachelor ’s degree in criminal justice. Additionally, I completed the Profession Management Program for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at Columbus State University, Command Staff training by the Georgia Sheriff’s Association, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Law Enforcement Executive Development program, and the 2023 class of the Greater Vidalia Leadership Training. I am married to Natalie Dukes Kight, and we have three children, Brody, McKade, and Jordie-Grace. I began my law enforcement career in 2002 with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as a Drug Task Force Agent. In 2007, I was promoted to Assistant Commander. In 2015, I began my career with the Toombs County Sheriff’s Office as Captain of Investigations and continue to serve in this capacity.

2. I was blessed with a deep desire to serve our community in hopes of making it a better place. Law enforcement has been a rewarding experience that continues to fuel my passion to serve our community. From the beginning of my career, I have taken advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow in this profession. I was afforded immense leadership and management training through the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Georgia Sheriff’s Association, along with the mentorship I received from my supervisors with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Sheriff. During my role as an Assistant Commander and now as a Captain with the Sheriff’s Office, I am tasked with oversight of operations, personnel, grants, budget, expenditures, and equipment. Additionally, I have maintained a working relationship with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to expand our capabilities. I will utilize my leadership abilities to extend my vision and core values to our staff through training and leading by example. This will help the Sheriff’s Office better serve our community.

3. Violent crimes stemming from gangs in our cities are at an all-time high. As the violence continues to increase, so do the areas and people that are affected by it. I will work to strengthen our ability to combat the gangs. Continuing to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to increase our resources and abilities is a must. I will seek grants that will help provide more manpower and training to make us more effective.

Moving forward, mental health issues are increasing, and state and federal resources are overwhelmed. This has mainly put the liability of handling citizens suffering from mental health issues on our local law enforcement. We have made great strides at the Sheriff’s Office to find additional resources for help and for training of our entire staff to include Jail Officers, Dispatchers, and Deputies. We must continue to seek opportunities and plan to become self-sufficient. We cannot rely on the state or federal government to help us, we must be proactive in looking for more solutions.

Drug addiction affects the community in more ways than our citizens realize. It has a direct impact on increasing crime, increasing the homeless population, causing a breakdown in home life, damage to property, and loss of life. All these issues cost the taxpayer as well. This is why the Sheriff’s Office has taken a proactive approach by partnering with our community to obtain grants that have allowed us to put together community organizations to address these issues. I will continue to advocate and help build our support system to help people with addiction become productive citizens.

4. The Sheriff’s Office must invest in our youth and the community surrounding them. Unfortunately, a lot of the exposure our youth receive from today’s society is unacceptable. Children are introduced to drugs, violence, and sexual content well before they are mature enough to understand the dangers associated with them. Additionally, more kids are growing up in a broken home and do not receive proper care or parenting. These negative influences have a tremendous impact on the type of adult the child will grow up to be. It is vital that the Sheriff’s Office works with community organizations to develop new ideas and ways to reach and protect our youth. We must play an active role in these organizations through direct interactions with our youth. The goal is to build a trusting relationship that will allow the Sheriff’s Office to lead our youth in the right direction.

Fighting crime aggressively and being more proactive is a must. As crime continues to rise, it is imperative that law enforcement be more proactive than ever. For these methods to be effective, we must continue seeking and implementing the latest training for our deputies. Networking and maintaining relationships with our local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies will ensure that we have the manpower and resources to battle crime effectively. Community policing is another key element in combating crime. We need the public’s help to do our jobs to the best of our ability. Community policing helps us build relationships and trust with our citizens, allowing law enforcement to receive information and tips about crime. This also helps citizens feel safe coming forward with information that aids us in solving or stopping crime.

Responsible spend ing of tax funds is a must. Almost all functions of law enforcement are dependent on tax funding. It is crucial that we work closely with our county government, keeping our budget as low as possible without sacrificing our service to the community. Working with our county government will create accountability that helps build citizens’ trust in how we spend tax funds. Utilization of grants and costeffective spending will help the Sheriff’s Office save tax dollars and still implement the latest technology. We must go to great lengths in researching items or services we purchase to ensure they are cost-effective.

Wesley Walker (R)

1. Lyons has been my home for twelve years, and several family members are also Toombs County residents.

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Valdosta State University augmented by 35 years of law enforcement experience. I have served as a patrol officer, narcotics investigator, gang specialist, and probation officer. For the last 12 years, I have served as the Chief of Police in Lyons.

My experience is not just local. President George W. Bush commended me for organizing security for the attendees of the 30th G8 Summit in Savannah. My statewide reputation among law enforcement peers resulted in my election to President of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police (7/1/2019-6/30/2020).

2. I am seeking the office of sheriff because my method of community policing has made Lyons a safer place to live, and I believe all of Toombs County could benefit from my proven approaches to ensuring public safety. The proof is in my record. Violent crime in our largest neighboring city is almost three times as high per 1000 residents as in Lyons, and property crimes are six times higher. The rate of violent crimes in Toombs County is 35% higher than the US Average. The rate of property crimes in Toombs County is double the national average (Source:

This is unacceptable. I want to apply my proven methods to make the county safer for its citizens. I am dedicated to fostering the good relationships between county law enforcement and the community that help make such enhanced safety possible.

Whether it’s handling a multi-million-dollar budget like that of the sheriff’s office, managing the jail, serving as the officer of the courts, or fighting crime, my life-long experience as a successful law enforcement officer and administrator has qualified me to be the Toombs County sheriff.

3. Three primary challenges facing the Sheriff’s Office are high crime rates, too many repeat offenders, and a lowered level of citizen trust in law enforcement. My approach to attacking these issues will be to establish greater community- based policing. Lyons’ lower crime rate did not happen by itself. My methods have proved the value of community-based policing in reducing crime rates.

If elected sheriff, I will build upon my successful efforts as the Lyons Police Chief to implement countywide criminal rehabilitation programs. These programs aim to turn criminals away from repeat behavior, rehabilitate them, and return them to productive, crime-free lives.

I will strive to earn the trust of Toombs citizens just as I have earned the trust of Lyons citizens. When citizens trust law enforcement, they become partners in crime prevention, alerting officers of suspected criminal behavior or unusual activities in their communities.

4. My experience has prepared me to be the Toombs County Sheriff, and my successes in my previous work situations, most especially as the Lyons Chief of Police, have convinced me that pursu-

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ing the following goals if I am elected will improve the effectiveness of the sheriff’s office: 1. Expanded Community Policing Initiatives: I will increase the engagement and cooperation between law enforcement and community members to improve public trust and prevent future crimes.

2. Targeted Crime Prevention: I will focus on eradicating narcotics and gang activities, a major factor in rising rates of violent crimes and property crimes.

3. Strengthened Administrative Standards: I will implement best law enforcement practices in the sheriff’s office. During my time with the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, I implemented such procedures, training standards, and operational efficiencies in that county, and it resulted in the Camden County Sheriff’s Office becoming the first south of Atlanta to earn the coveted “Certified Law Enforcement Agency” designation from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. I would implement those operational standards and practices in Toombs County to guarantee our citizens that their sheriff’s office operates according to the best-recommended law enforcement standards available.

I hope these answers have responded to your questions and appreciate this opportunity to better familiarize your readers with my candidacy for the office of Sheriff of Toombs County.

Rodney Wardlaw (I)

1. I have dedicated nearly 14 years to a career in law enforcement, currently serving as a supervisory deputy at the Toombs County S h e r i f f ’s Office. My educational journey includes graduating from Toombs County High School  and obtain ing degrees in Law Enforcement and Liberal Arts from Thomas University. Additionally, I am currently enrolled in Morehouse College’s Business Management program. My extensive community involvement spans over 20 years, during which I have worked tirelessly to enhance the lives of families and our community’s youth. On a personal note, I am happily married to Ariel, and together we are blessed with five amazing boys.

2. Why I’m seeking office lies within my mission statement: “Safety First, Community Always: Upholding Integrity and Transparency in Every Action!” With nearly 14 years of dedicated service in law enforcement, I am poised to run for the office of Sheriff, bringing a wealth of experience and a complement of skills that are essential for this esteemed role. My career has been marked by a steadfast commitment to safety and justice, ensuring that the principles of fairness and integrity are upheld in every aspect of my work.

My communication skills have been refined over years of engaging with diverse communities, listening to their concerns, and articulating clear plans of action. This ability to connect and communicate effectively is crucial in building trust between law enforcement and the public—a trust that is the cornerstone of community policing. Leadership is not just about directing; it’s about inspiring and empowering others. My leadership qualities have been demonstrated through my ability to lead teams in high-pressure situations, make critical decisions, and foster a culture of accountability and continuous improvement. I have consistently shown that I can guide a department towards excellence, ensuring that every member feels valued, ensure that they feel they are more than a badge number, and motivate them to serve the public to the best of their ability.

Additionally, dedication to public service is the thread that weaves through my entire career. It’s a dedication that goes beyond the call of duty, seeing public service not just as a job but as a calling. It’s about being there for the community during their most challenging times and celebrating with them during their moments of triumph.

As I stand ready to run for Sheriff, I bring not just my qualifications and skills, but a vision for a department that is responsive, transparent, and unwavering in its pursuit of justice. I envision a future where our community feels secure, supported, and confident in the knowledge that their law enforcement officers are truly their partners in creating a peaceful and prosperous society.

3. As a candidate for Sheriff, my campaign is firmly rooted in the commitment to crime reduction, tackling substance abuse, addressing mental health concerns, and ensuring transparency within the department. With nearly 14 years of experience in law enforcement, I understand the complex challenges our community faces and the complicated approach required to create a safer environment for all.

Crime Reduction: 80% of counties in Georgia are currently listed as safer than our county. My primary goal is to implement proactive policing strategies that not only deter crime but also address its root causes. By enhancing our patrol operations and investigative capabilities, we can respond more effectively to criminal activities. A key component to reducing crime will be to create a multi-agency task force that consists of law enforcement officials from each municipality. Our task force will focus on investigating gang, drug and violent activity. Furthermore, community engagement will be a cornerstone of our crime reduction efforts, as I believe that a collaborative relationship between law enforcement and residents is key to long-term success. In the ongoing battle against crime, integrating diversion and vocational programs within our jail will play a pivotal role.

By those incarcerated the chance to earn a General Educational Development (GED) and acquire certifications in trades like weld- ing, HVAC, electrical work, and forklift operation, we increase the likelihood that upon their release, these individuals will reintegrate into society as productive citizens. Simultaneously, this approach contributes to lowering overall crime rates.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health: e epi demic of substance abuse has inflicted untold harm on our community. As Sheriff, I will prioritize programs that focus on prevention, education, and rehabilitation. We will work closely with local organizations to provide support and resources for those struggling with addiction, aiming to break the cycle of substance abuse and its associated criminal behavior.

Similarly, mental health is often an overlooked aspect of public safety. I am dedicated to ensuring that our deputies receive comprehensive training in crisis intervention and mental health awareness. This will enable them to recognize and appropriately respond to individuals in crisis, reducing the likelihood of tragic outcomes and ensuring that those in need receive proper care and support.

Transparency: Trust in law enforcement is built on transparency and accountability. My administration will be committed to open communication with the public, providing regular updates on our operations and actively seeking community feedback. We will maintain high standards of professionalism and integrity, holding our deputies accountable and ensuring that our actions reflect the values of the community we serve. Incorporating the community briefing, sheriff’s advisory board and a true open door policy will be vital in ensuring we maintain a high level of transparency.

4. As your Sheriff, I am committed to three fundamental goals: restoring agency relationships, expanding community outreach programs, and enhancing recruiting and retention policies. These pillars are essential for building a law enforcement agency that is not only effective but also deeply connected to the community it serves.

Restoring Agency Relationships: My -rst priority is to rebuild and strengthen the bonds between our Sheriff’s office and our local police departments, state and federal agencies. By building a culture of collaboration and mutual respect, we can create a unified front against crime and ensure a seamless response to emergencies. This cooperation will also extend to partnerships with local organizations and businesses, recognizing that public safety is a shared responsibility.

Community Outreach Programs: I believe in the power of community policing, where law enforcement and citizens work hand-in-hand. To this end, I will introduce innovative outreach initiatives such as town hall meetings, youth mentorship programs, citizen’s academy, and public safety workshops. These programs will not only educate and engage citizens but also provide valuable feedback to shape our policing strategies.

Recruiting and Reten tion Policies: Attracting and retaining the best talent is crucial for maintaining a high standard of policing. I will implement a comprehensive recruiting strategy that emphasizes diversity, professionalism, and community service. We will offer competitive benefits, continuous professional development, and a supportive work environment that values each member’s contributions. By recognizing and rewarding excellence, we will ensure that our deputies are not only skilled but also committed to long-term service.

In summary, my vision for the Sheriff’s office is one where trust is restored, community ties are strengthened, and our team is empowered to serve with excellence. With your support, we can achieve these goals and make our community a safer, more harmonious place to live. I am ready to lead this charge and humbly ask for your support in making our community a safer, healthier, and more just place to live.

Tax Commissioner Anna Wommack Holcombe 1. My name is Anna Wommack Holcombe. I am 39 years old. I am a 2002 graduate of Toombs County High School. I am married to my wonderful husband of 17 years

Brent Hol combe. We have been blessed with four beautiful children: Chloé, Kadyn, Collin and Remington . We are mem bers of Oasis Church of God in Lyons, where my husband I currently serve as Youth Pastors. I also serve as the Worship Leader.

My parents are Bishop Gilbert and Paula Wommack who Pastor the Oasis Church of God. I am the granddaughter of the late Laverne Wommack and Annie Ruth Wommack. Family is VERY important to me. Being family oriented is a contributing factor to my passion to serve. It has always been my hearts desire to help others in any way that I can. I am currently employed with HCA Meadows Physicians Womens Care in patient relations which includes interacting with patients by phone and in person.

I work with a wonderful group of women who emplore teamwork to provide our patients with the best experience with our office.

2. I have over 15 years of experience in the Toombs County Tax Commissioners Office. I have served under two of our previous Tax Commissioners as well as the current Tax Commissioner. I am equipped with impeccable customer service skills, the ability to multitask and I am able to listen to others with respect and consideration for their needs and concerns. It is my intention to provide face to face support for the citizens and to address all matters promptly and professionally. I desire to work closely with other offices in the county to do provide our citizens with the knowledge and resources available to them 3. As your next Tax Commissioner, I plan to introduce and implement online payment options for property taxes and tag renewals. I feel that at the present time there is not enough communication from the Tax Commissioners office concerning important benefits for the citizens. TAVT exemptions and appeals are available but most citizens are not aware of this option.

This is very important and beneficial for each tax payer. Communication with the citizen is currently deficient and I intend to change that one my first day in office. I will always be there with an open door policy, working for the community and willing to serve Toombs County as the Tax Commissioner.

4. The most important aspect in any business is Customer Service.

When elected I will insure that each member of my administration will be properly trained in phone etiquette, issue resolution and professionalism. Our attire and appearance will be professional and the environment will be that of servitude. When coming into my office, it will be my upmost priority that each citizen feel IMPORTANT, HEARD and treated with EQUAL respect. When elected I will ensure each citizen is made aware of any changes at the local and state level. I will ensure each citizen is noti- -ed when the Homestead Exemption application process begins and ends.

Each citizen will receive a letter in the mail with instructions and contact numbers for the Tax Assessors Office. I will do my very best to keep the citizens of informed and my office assist in any way possible. As Tax Commissioner I vow to work for the citizens of Toombs County. Under my administration the Tax Commissioners office will serve with hospitality, efficiency and integrity while creating an atmosphere of confidence and transparency. Thank you for your consideration to elect me, Anna Wom- mack Holcombe, as your 2024 Tax Commissioner.

Jeandra Johnson

1. My name is Jeandra Johnson.

I am 34 years old and I was born and raised in Lyons, Georgia.

I have one amazing, softball loving daughter, Londyn. I am the daughter of Donetta Jackson & Allen Johnson and the granddaughter of the late Queen Elizabeth Jackson. I attend Faith Temple of Glennville. I am a 2008 graduate of Toombs Coun- ty High School where I graduated with honors. I began working in the Tax Commissioner’s office in 2012 and have been working here for 12 consecutive years.

2. As you grow older, you learn things about yourself. I have always found joy in helping those closest to me, but it wasn’t until I started working at the Tax Commissioner’s Office that I found joy in helping others. Over the past 12 years, I have poured my heart into this job. I have learned things that I needed to learn and quickly became the go to when others had questions. Not because I was seeking to be at the top, but because I was simply doing my job as if I was working for the Lord. My grandmother instilled Colossians 3:23-24 in me growing up and I still live by that to this day. It states, “Whatever you do, work it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.

It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” For the past 5 years, I have been assisting the current Tax Commissioner, Brenda Williams, with her duties. Not only am I well versed in working the front (titles, tags, property taxes, timber tax), but I also handle the things that you do not see.

I assist in doing bi-weekly and monthly payouts, bill corrections, refunds, completing the digest as well as preparing and holding tax sales.

3. The job of a Tax Commissioner is simply to do what is set out by the state. So, while there are things I would love to change, some things are simply above my power.

With that being said, I have heard the concerns of the citizens and will address the customer service and professionalism issues.

The saying goes if it isn’t broke don’t fix it, but you also can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken. I will make sure that customer service is top notch when serving you, the citizens of Toombs County. I have also noticed the need of a bilingual clerk. It is the goal for every citizen to have a pleasurable experience when conducting business.

I have seen firsthand the frustration from the communication barrier and I would like to do what I can to help alleviate that frustration.

4. If elected, my main goal will be to make sure everyone is treated fairly and equally, no matter your social status, religion, race or beliefs. I would like for every taxpayer to have the same pleasurable experience. I know that things happen and people fall on hard times and I will do whatever I can within the limits of the law to assist. I understand that we live in a fast paced world, so I plan on implementing online tag renewals to better assist taxpayers. With me being employed in the office, this would be something I would be able to work on this year if elected. I would also like to keep taxpayers informed on new laws regarding motor vehicles and property tax. Laws are ever changing and I will do my best to make sure you are informed. As Robert Greenleaf stated, “Good leaders must first become good servants.” If elected as your next Toombs County Tax Commissioner, I am ready to hit the ground running and to continue to serve you in any capacity needed.

Coroner Ronald V. Hall (Incumbent) At the time of press, Hall had not submi(ed a completed questionnaire.

Kyle Wilkes

1. I am a 2004 graduate from Vidalia High School. Also, I have an AAS in Biology from East Georgia State College and an AAS in Funeral Services from Ogeechee Technical College. I am a licensed funeral

director and embalmer. I am the son of Randy and Tammy Wilkes, my brother is Jordan “Moose” Wilkes all of the Toombs Central area, and my sister is Brandi Wilkes of Higgston. I am married to Yareli Wilkes and together we have four children, Ivy Wilkes, Kylee Wilkes, Anniston Wilkes, and Jake Wilkes. I have been involved in funeral services since I started seeking my degree in 2008. continued from page

I completed my apprenticeship from Fairhaven Funeral Home in 2012 and continued working until being blessed enough to open Wilkes Funeral Home in Vidalia. I have been affiliated with Millikens Creek Masonic Lodge where I was the 2013 and 2014 Past Master, was a board member for Quint Shrine club the first year we won “Club of the Year”, a board member for the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America at Toombs County High School, and a member of Safe Kids Toombs. I am also a journeyman painter for the IUPAT local union 1756. Wilkes Fu- neral Home is a member of Greater Vidalia Chamber.

2. I am seeking this position because I have a God given need to serve people in their hardest and darkest hour. Unlike other offices, the role of a coroner is to be with families and loved ones step by step in determining the cause of death, time, and many other inquiries and questions they may have. I was in nursing school prior to becoming a funeral director. I was always fascinated in not only how someone passed away but what caused them to pass away. It will truly be a passion to serve. What I lack in experience for the position, I will make up for in my diligence to learn and will give my best at every opportunity that is given.

3. The main thing I would like to change is that if a coroner is needed then the coroner will be there. I have been told by countless first responders, officers, paramedics, and so forth that the deputy coroner does most of the work. If a death occurs at the hospital then no one even comes usually. A simple phone call and release is made without laying eyes on the person in question. If someone wants this position, then go yourself and not send a deputy or just ask a couple questions to the nurse and release the person. I believe the office has become just an idea of going through the motions and having a reliance on other people. If I am elected, I will be the one that is doing my very best to be the one carrying out the duties of this office and not just passing it off to the deputies.

4. My very first and foremost goal is to be present when I am needed. I would like to work with county and city officials to identify parts of our roadways that may need to have reduced speeds, round abouts, yield signs, or anything can help a person think about what they are about to do and potentially save their life. In areas that may require more attention from police officers, I want to look into better lighting that may deter someone from performing an illegal action that may result in a taken life. I want to be proactive in trying to reduce the need for a coroner in cases where a life is taken. We all deserve to live a full life and be surrounded by our families when our time comes.

Commission District 3 Darriel Nobles (Incumbent) 1. I, Darriel Nobles, a stalwart figure in Toombs County, Georgia. I epitomize the core values of hard work, integrity, and community spirit that define our region. Born and raised on a humble family farm just outside the charming town of Lyons, my upbringing grounded me in the importance of honest labor and close-knit community ties.

My journey through education began at Toombs County High School, where I immersed myself in academics and extracurricular activities, laying the foundation for my future endeavors. Continuing my pursuit of knowledge, I furthered my education at Brewton Parker College, where I refined my skills and broadened my horizons.

In 1971, I embarked on a lifelong partnership with my beloved wife, Lucretia Goodowns, a union that has been the bedrock of my personal and professional life. Together, we raised two children, Alexis Hughes and Derrick No bles, whose own families now bring joy and vitality to our household.

Professionally, my entrepreneurial spirit led me to establish Nobles Furniture and Flooring Company, a venture that flourished for an impressive 37 years under my dedicated stewardship. Concurrently, I served as a Rural Mail Carrier for three decades, diligently fulfilling my duties and becoming a trusted pillar of the community.

Upon retiring from my professional career in 2007, I transitioned seamlessly into a new chapter of service, dedicating myself wholeheartedly to voluntary work. My leadership roles in organizations such as the Lyons Jaycees, Lyons Toombs Chamber of Commerce, and Lyons Masonic Lodge #49 underscore my commitment to community development and civic engagement.

My extensive involvement in various boards and authorities, including the Lyons Development Authority, Meadows Memori- al Hospital Authority, and the Toombs County Board of Education, speaks to my unwavering dedication to advancing the interests of my community and advocating for positive change.

Beyond my local sphere of influence, my contributions extend to statewide and national organizations, where I have held prominent positions such as President of the Georgia  Rural LeGer Carriers Association and Certified Commissioner. My commitment to environmental stewardship and governance reflects my broader vision for societal betterment.

As a devout member of Oak Baptist Church, I actively foster spiritual growth and fellowship within my congregation, serving as a beacon of hope and compassion for those around me. My leadership roles in organizations like the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association further demonstrate my commitment to serving others beyond geographical boundaries.

Currently serving as Toombs County Commissioner for District 3 and on the ACCG State Board, I continue to represent my community with integrity, diligence, and an unwavering commitment to progress. My lifelong dedication to professional excellence and community service embodies a profound desire to leave a positive legacy and ensure a brighter future for generations to come.

2. My decision to seek the office of County Commissioner stems from a profound dedication to serving the people of Toombs County. With a rich history of public service spanning various capacities, I believe that assuming the role of County Commissioner is the most impactful way to continue advocating for the welfare and prosperity of our community.

Drawing upon my extensive background in business, I bring a wealth of experience and acumen to the realm of county gover- nance. Having owned and operated Nobles Furniture and Flooring Company for over three decades, I have honed my decision making skills and developed a keen understanding of managing complex situations and engaging with the public effectively.

Furthermore, my commitment to ongoing learning and professional development is evident through my participation in the inaugural Leadership Training Class. This comprehensive training has equipped me with invaluable tools and insights, empowering me to expand my outreach and better serve the needs of our community.

I remain steadfast in my pursuit of knowledge and excellence, actively engaging with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) to further my understanding of county government. As one of the few Certified County Commissioners in the state, I am dedicated to upholding the highest standards of governance and leadership. My credentials as a Certified Landfill Operator underscore my commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible management of county resources. In my capacity as Commissioner, I have been entrusted with oversight of the Toombs County Landfill, a responsibility I approach with diligence and integrity. Moreover, my leadership position on the ACCG Board affords me the opportunity to collaborate with fellow commissioners from across the state, exchanging insights and strategies to address common challenges facing our counties. This platform enables me to advocate for the interests of Toombs County and contribute to informed decision-making at a statewide level.

In addition to my role as County Commissioner, I serve as a representative on the Toombs County Board of Health and hold the position of Vice Chair on the Council on Aging for the fourteen-county region. These appointments reflect my commitment to promoting public health and advocating for the needs of our aging population.

In conclusion, I am not driven by political ambition but by a genuine desire to serve as a dedicated public servant for the people of Toombs County. My professional background, ongoing education, and leadership experience position me as a capable and effective County Commissioner, committed to advancing the well-being and prosperity of our community.

3. Throughout my tenure working alongside fellow commissioners, I’ve observed a diligent and collaborative approach to addressing the multifaceted challenges facing our county. Together, we have meticulously examined all major county issues, ensuring that comprehensive strategies are developed and implemented to effectively address each concern.

In our concerted efforts, we recognize that while major issues may occupy the forefront, minor challenges within various departments also demand attention. Through close coordination and regular communication with my fellow commissioners, we remain vigilant in identifying and promptly addressing these minor issues as they arise. Our proactive approach ensures that no matter the scale, every issue receives the thorough consideration and resolution it warrants.

It’s important to note that Toombs County is served by four esteemed Constitutional officers: the Tax Commissioner, Clerk of Courts, Sheriff, and Probate Judge. As elected officials, these individuals hold unique responsibilities within their respective departments. While the County Commission plays a vital role in overall governance and policymaking, we respect the autonomy and authority vested in these Constitutional officers to manage their departments effectively.

Our collaborative relationship with these officers is characterized by mutual respect and a shared commitment to serving the best interests of our constituents. We maintain open lines of communication and work in partnership to address overarching county priorities while respecting the distinct responsibilities of each office.

In conclusion, our approach to county governance is rooted in collaboration, diligence, and a steadfast dedication to serving the needs of our community. By working closely with fellow commissioners and respecting the roles of Constitutional officers, we ensure that Toombs County remains well-equipped to address both major challenges and minor issues, ultimately fostering a thriving and resilient community for all residents.

4. As a County Commissioner, my primary objectives are centered on promoting unity, fairness, and prosperity within Toombs County. One key focus is fostering ongoing collaboration and communication between County and City government entities. Building upon past efforts, I am committed to ensuring that this positive trend of cooperation continues to strengthen, enhancing our ability to address community needs effectively.

Equitable treatment of County employees is another paramount goal. I am dedicated to ensuring that our workforce feels valued, respected, and proud to serve Toombs County. This involves maintaining fair wages and comprehensive benefits, acknowledging the vital contributions our employees make to our community’s well being.

Moreover, I aim to make Toombs County an attractive destination for both residents and businesses. By investing in infrastructure, education, healthcare, and recreational amenities, we can enhance quality of life and stimulate economic growth. Creating an environment where individuals and families thrive is crucial for long-term sustainability and community vitality. Transparency and accountability are foundational principles of my governance approach. I am committed to operating the County Government in an open and transparent manner, providing accessible information and opportunities for citizen engagement. By fostering greater transparency through public meetings and proactive communication, we can build trust and confidence among our constituents.

Achieving these objectives requires collective effort from the Board of Commissioners. By leveraging our diverse expertise and perspectives, we can develop innovative solutions and drive positive change. Working collaboratively, we can overcome challenges, capitalize on opportunities, and realize our shared vision of a prosperous and vibrant Toombs County.

Daniel Caraway

1. I am a life-long resident of Toombs County and married to my wife Teresa of 42 years. We have two children and 3 grandchildren, all of Toombs County. I am a graduate of Lyons Senior High School, Southeast ern Technical College, as well as East Georgia College and the Phil Crosby School of Quality. I am retired from Georgia Correctional Industries where I worked as a manager for over 27 years, as well as the Toombs-Montgomery EMS where I served as a part-time paramedic for about 20 years. I currently serve as Pastor of Ham mond Baptist Church in Lyons; I’m also part of management for All-Clean Services in Statesboro. I served the citizens of Toombs County for four years as Chairman of the Toombs County Board of Education. I have also worked as a volunteer with adolescents at Fort Stewart as a mentor with Youth Challenge, as well as a coach for both the Vidalia and Lyons Recreation De partments. I am an active member of Inman Creek Masonic Lodge #491 and Lyons Masonic Lodge #49. I am also a past member of the Georgia Junior Chamber of Commerce.

2. One of the most important qualities of an effective leader is being a good listener and remembering why you’ve been elected. You’re there to serve, to actually address concerns and be a voice for the people. I’m not a career politician, rather a common man who wants to be a true voice for the citizens of Toombs County. In terms of my qualifications, I have management experience in both the public and private sector. This includes budgeting, fulfilling contracts, quality control, overseeing day-to-day business operations, as well as working with a variety of people and situations.

3. There are quite a few issues that I believe need to be addressed in our county.

One of the major issues that must be dealt with is being a better steward of tax payer’s money and developing a budget that reflects this. We must ensure local government spending is kept in check and try to find ways to generate money without having to steadily increase property taxes. In other words, we must “think outside of the box.”

Another thing we must focus on is working alongside the Toombs-Montgomery Development Authority to propel our county forward economically. A major part of this entails finding ways to attract new industries to Toombs County, as well as providing incentives to keep the ones that are already here.

Lastly, our county commissioners should be approachable. They should listen to what their constituents have to say. This includes listening to the concerns of county employees who work hard to keep things going from day-to-day.

4. One of my top priorities is taking an in-depth look at our county budget/ finances and searching for alternate ways to generate revenue without having to steadily increase property taxes. Property taxes should not be a burden to hard-working Toombs Countians.

Another goal that I have is continuous road and transportation improvements throughout our county, including both dirt and paved roads.

Last but certainly not least, building trust and comradery among our city and county governments, private businesses and the general public is something I’d like to address. It’s important that we find ways to communicate more effectively to build a sense of community. Afterall, we’re all in this together and I humbly ask for your vote and support in the May 21st general primary election.

Wheeler County Commissioner, District 3 Dustin Purvis, R 1. I’m a lifelong resident of Wheeler County, graduating from Wheeler County High School in 2011. I am the son of William Purvis, and have two sons, Knox and Jace Purvis. I am the current co-owner of WDP Logging, and the owner of DSP Trucking Transport. I attend the Community Church of God in Wheeler County.

2. I am seeking the position of County Commissioner to help ensure public safety by maintaining the county infrastructure. I feel that I am qualified for the position because I have been around heavy machinery most of my life and have the knowledge of being a leader as well as a boss by running my own business and having employees. I feel that I have what it takes to be a successful County Commissioner with the experience that I possess.

3. I feel that is has been challenging at times for the county to stay within budget to maintain the infrastructure. I promise to do everything that I can to stay within budget while improving our county and continued from page

making our roads, as well as our bridges, safe. I think I can offer and assist with improvements in keeping our dirt roads maintained and residents’ entrances to their driveways.

4. One of my main goals on the County Commission is to set priorities to be completed.

I plan to provide better overall organizational leadership and create paths to better management.

I will ensure that decisions made will have lasting value and that I will work hard to achieve a measurably high level of public satisfaction. I am here for the people of this community.

Keith McNeal, Incumbent, R 1. I graduated from Wheeler County High School and served in the United States Army. I received an Associate Degree from Brewton- Parker College and retired from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).

I have been married to Sandra Clark McNeal for almost 52 years, with two children Kyla Milton (Chris) and Kyle McNeal (Nikki), and four grandchildren – Brycen, Marley, Mason and Brylee.

I attend and am a member of Union Springs Baptist Church and was first elected to the Wheeler County Board of Commission in 2005 and have been serving since that time.

2. I worked with GDOT highway maintenance for 31 years and handled public requests and complaints. I completed training through ACCG to become a certified County Commissioner.

3. Hiring and retaining good, qualified employees.

Working with the Wheeler County Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority to bring in more industry for the county.

Keeping property taxes as low as possible through proper fiscal management while dealing with increasing inflation.

4. Construct a new Emergency Medical Services headquarters in the center of the county to be paid for with SPLOST funds.

Continue to improve roads and bridges with TSPLOST and LMIG (Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant) funds.

Work with Wheeler County Sheriff’s Department and EMS to reduce overtime costs. Wheeler County Sheriff Glenn Giles, R 1. I am Glenn Giles, and I stand before you seeking your support and votes in the upcoming Wheeler County Sheriff’s election. For nearly four decades, Wheeler County has been my cherished home. I am a husband of 16 years to my wonderful wife, Molly, and a proud father of two incredible young girls, Keegan and Kassidy.

My journey in law enforcement commenced in 2003 when I voluntarily enrolled in mandate school, also known as the Police Academy, in Macon. Beginning my career as a Deputy Sheriff in Telfair County, I served diligently for two years before being entrusted with the role of Chief of Police in Helena, where I dedicated almost a decade of service. In 2015, with the merger of the City of McRae and the City of Helena into the City of McRae-Helena, I was se lected as the Chief of Police in the newly-formed city, where I continue to serve today.

Over the years, I have been privileged to foster partnerships with various local, state, and federal agencies, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, United States Marshals Service, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia De partment of Corrections, and others. Should I have the honor of being elected as your sheriff, these established relationships will be a valuable asset, ensuring that the citizens of Wheeler County have direct access to assistance from external agencies when needed.

While I take pride in the numerous hours of training and certifications I’ve acquired throughout my career, my most profound education has come from helping real individuals who have faced genuine challenges. This hands-on experience has proven to be more instructive than any classroom setting.

If entrusted with this responsibility, my primary objective is to bring a much-needed positive transformation to our county by forging community partnerships. I am committed to working closely with community members to ensure that every person is represented and treated equitably by your Sheriff’s Department. My ultimate goal is for each citizen to place their trust in our department, believing that we will consistently uphold what is right, just, and fair.

2. I am seeking the office of sheriff because I believe and know that I can make a difference in the department’s current state. Our Sheriff’s Department requires several changes, including but not limited to technology and equipment upgrades as well as modern and up-to-date policy and procedure manuals.

Leading two different departments over the past 19 years has honed my leadership and management skills, preparing me to lead the Wheeler County Sheriff’s Department.

As citizens of Wheeler County, you deserve a Sheriff’s Department that every citizen can be proud of.

3. Staff: Our Sheriff’s Department is understaffed. I intend to prioritize finding out why the department is understaffed and working on correcting the issue(s) immediately. Some of you may know this, but others may not. Do you realize that most nights, the ENTIRE coun ty is patrolled by only ONE deputy? This is absolutely unsafe and unfair to the deputy and you as citizens. It is completely unrealistic to believe that having one deputy patrolling and answering calls is effective in crime suppression and/ or proactive crime prevention.

Public Relations: I recognize the importance of community relations; I also recognize that, at this time, community relations are at what I feel is an all-time low. This is not the place to have an “us against them” attitude; law enforcement needs its community as much as the community needs law enforcement. Without community support, no Sherriff’s Department or Police Department can hope to be successful. Every citizen will be heard, and they will be treated equitably.

Openness, Honesty, and Transparency: It has been noticed that some or all of these principles have been overlooked from time to time when more challenging issues arise. In dayto- day events and when faced with difficult issues as a community, it is important to ensure these principles are upheld. It is my personal policy to always follow these principles, and it will be the Sheriff’s Department’s and its deputies’ policy, as well. Obtaining and retaining a fully-staffed department is a top priority. This is accomplished by creating a supportive environment that allows for the growth and development of your deputies. When your deputies are allowed and encouraged to learn more and be better, they will do just that: be better. Through my years of experience, this is something that officers seek, and once they find a department that allows them to grow, they stay with the department. As explained above, a fully-staffed department is important to everyone involved.

4. Community policing is a must. This will begin on day one; in fact, these relationships are already growing. We will accomplish community policing by simply getting to know our community and encouraging our community to know each deputy on a first name basis. I pledge that my deputies and I will actively participate in community projects and events. We will always be available to assist any community member or group with community projects. Working together as one and not in a divided manner will be an enormous benefit to everyone. Over the last few years, I have seen several unfortunate events take place that have, from my point of view, caused a divide in our community. This divide has caused animosity between our Sherriff’s Department and the community. My goal is to make our entire community proud of its Sheriff’s Department by treating every citizen equitably and proving to each of you that everyone can be proud of their Sheriff’s Department.

Drug and crime suppression will be a top priority for me. It’s widely recognized that while not all, a significant portion of crimes can be directly linked to drug activity. Throughout my career, I’ve spearheaded numerous drug investigations, resulting in the seizure of substantial quantities of narcotics and the apprehension of multiple drug traffickers within our community. Additionally, I’ve actively contributed to federal-level drug probes, yielding similar outcomes, impacting not only my jurisdiction but various communities across Georgia.

The more we eliminate drugs and their purveyors from our neighborhoods, the safer we become. I am committed to tirelessly combating drug trafficking, ensuring our communities are free from these harmful substances. Doing so can reduce the likelihood of our children being exposed to these dangerous influences.

Randy Rigdon, Incumbent, R

1. I attended Valdosta State University and South Georgia College to obtain my degree in criminal justice. I have an amazing family which consists of my loving wife and our four sons. I have a long career in law enforcement during which I have worked at different levels and agencies. I started off as a jailer and worked through the ranks up to sheriff.

2. I am seeking reelection to the office of Wheeler County Sheriff to continue my service to the men, women, and children who call Wheeler County home. My years of experience in the law enforcement field have given me the skills and expertise to excel as sheriff and to provide the citizens of Wheeler County with the quality law enforcement agency they deserve. One of the most important skills that I have acquired through my years working as a law enforcement office is communication. I pride myself in being approachable and open to all questions, comments, and concerns.

3. It is important for sheriffs to constantly adapt to new issues which present themselves to our nation, state, and county. One issue is continuing to protect the rights guaranteed to the citizens of Wheeler County by the Constitution. In recent years, citizens have rightfully been concerned with the preservation of the Second Amendment and their right to bear arms. I agree that the preservation of the Second Amendment is of utmost importance. If I am reelected, I will continue to do all in my power to protect your constitutional rights of being able to protect yourself and loved ones in your homes.

Another issue is that of illegal immigration. Our nation and the State of Georgia have both seen an unprecedented influx of illegal immigrants. As your sheriff, I have and will continue to work with state and federal law enforcement agencies to address this issue and ensure that Wheeler County remains a safe place to raise a family.

Finally, illegal drugs travelling into and through Wheeler County remains an issue. My deputies continually do great work in apprehending these illegal drugs and the individuals who sell them. In my third term as sheriff, I will continue to prioritize the apprehension of illegal and illicit drugs.

4. There are many things that I want to accomplish in my third term as sheriff, the first of which is lowering the crime rate. I would accomplish this goal by working both with my employees and the citizens of Wheeler County. I have learned that cooperation between law enforcement and the community they serve is extremely beneficial for keeping the community safe. Secondly, I would work to reduce the amount of illicit drugs entering our county. These drugs pose a definite threat to the health and safety of Wheeler County citizens. I would accomplish this goal by continuing to be diligent in the enforcement of drug and narcotics laws.

Finally, I aim to further foster an office of transparency and community relations. To accomplish this goal, I will continually work to be approachable on all matters of my office. If any citizens of Wheeler County would like to contact me, they can do so at 912-703-4715. I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve the community of Wheeler County during my last two terms and would love to continue my service to you all. Wheeler County Coroner Ted Mercer, incumbent, non-partisan 1. I am a lifelong resident of Wheeler County and a graduate of Wheeler County High School. I live in the Landsburg community where I grew up, just a thousand yards from the house where I was born. I worked as an EMT until 1994, and am a former truck driver. I have one son, Blake Alan Mercer, who is employed in the financial department at Georgia Southern University. I and am a member of the Masonic Lodge in Glenwood.

2. I enjoy helping people and at the time of a death, families need answers to their questions and they need understanding and comfort. I have served as the coroner for Wheeler County since being elected to the office in 1993 and was trained at the Georgia Public Safety Academy in Forsyth where I return annually for refresher courses. Over the years, as I have worked alongside first responders and public safety officials, I have learned a lot about team work. My background as an emergency medical technician has assisted me in working with people and the different situations I have encountered as coroner.

3. To continue the tradition of teamwork with local government, public safety officers and coroners throughout the area I serve. I have always enjoyed a good working relationship with public safety personnel, local government officials and would appreciate the opportunity to continue these relationships in another term as coroner.

4. To educate the public about the duties of the coroner’s office. I have lived here all of my life and I care about Wheeler County. I enjoy being here for the people of my community and I value my role as coroner. I would like to encourage citizens with questions about the coroner’s office to contact me.

To maintain the tradition of putting the needs of families who have lost loved ones at the forefront while doing my job as professionally as possible.

I will continue to consider the feelings of victims’ families while also providing the information they require.

Kandice (Kandi) Day Purvis, Non-partisan 1. I am thrilled to be running for the position of coroner for Wheeler Coun- ty. I have been an ER nurse for almost eight years at Dodge Coun- ty Hospital in Eastman. My passion is being able to help patients and families. I am a member of the American Nurses Association and have one son, Daylan, who will be graduating in May from Wheeler County High School.

2. I am seeking the position of coroner for Wheeler County to give back to my community. I am a lifelong Wheeler County resident and want to provide a service to my community. My eight years as an emergency room nurse gives me the knowledge to understand the role that I will be providing.

3. The number one issue that every department is facing is poor economic conditions that our country is in. Keeping costs down will be on top of my priorities.

I will always have myself or my deputies readily available to respond in a timely manner to a callout.

I will stay in touch with families during the time when their loved ones have to be sent to the crime lab, making sure the death certificates are completed promptly as soon as all results are returned.

4. Establishing a better relationship with the community, getting out and offering an open door policy to them and visiting with citizens so that their first time meeting me is not at a very bad time in their lives.

Getting more training about death scene investigations to help me and my deputies to work a scene in a better and in a more professional manner.

Finding grant money to buy a morgue for our county so decedents don’t have to be taken out of the county to be kept in another county’s facility, thus keeping costs for tax payers.

Recent Death Notices