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Statham race pits brothers against each other, two others

STATHAM - Two new political newcomers in Statham want to see new blood on the City Council, even if it means one of the newcomers ousts his own brother.

John Aaron and Joe Hayes are seeking council seats against incumbents Hattie Thrasher and Mike Aaron, John Aaron's older brother. The incumbents have both served on the council for 12 years.

The top two vote-getters will earn council seats, so it is possible the brothers could both be sent to City Hall. But John Aaron said he doesn't care about achieving that outcome.

"It's not a brother issue whatsoever," he said. "We have people who have been in our spot for 20 years. They forget what put them there."

The brothers disagree on one of the central issues for the city: sewage.

Mike Aaron said he's worked for years on a four-phase, $1.5 million project to expand sewer service throughout the city. Construction will begin soon on the first phase.

"We hope it brings more business in there," he said. "It helps cut the tax burden on homeowners."

But his brother worries about the financial strain on residents, who will have to pay fees and hire a plumber to connect the system.

Thrasher is also excited about the sewage expansion.

"There's a lot of septic tanks that will be done away with and it'll give us a lot of revenue," she said.

The three-term councilwoman said she would like to continue her work, including building a new home for police, code enforcement and city functions.

"We have grown tremendously, and we are still growing. We'll never be done," she said. "We just have to work on the most important parts."

Hayes, a building inspector who worked for the city until last April, said he also wants fresh ideas and leaders on the council. He is interested in seeing the city grow.

"I don't think we need to change the world in Statham. We just need to listen more," he said about the leadership. "We should take advantage of the business opportunity in our area."

Also Nov. 6, voters will decide if the city can allow liquor to be served at restaurants.

The measure failed two years ago, but some say allowing alcohol would help the city attract other eateries.

Mayor Robert Bridges is unopposed for another term.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Statham City Hall.

SideBar: The Candidates

John Aaron

Age: 40

Occupation: Self-employed, floor covering store

Education: Winder Barrow High School

Political Experience: None

Family: Wife, Cheryl; daughter Adrieanna, 10

Contact: None

Mike Aaron (i)

Age: 44

Occupation: Field supervisor

Education: Winder-Barrow High School

Political Experience: 12 years on the Statham City Council

Family: Wife, Lisa; children, Rob, 13, and Mackenize, 8

Joe Hayes

Age: 35

Occupation: Building inspector

Education: Jefferson High School

Political Experience: None

Family: Wife, Tammy; children, Jordan, 6, and Kayla, 2

Contact: votejoehayes@yahoo.com

Hattie Thrasher (i)

Age: 64

Occupation: Self-employed beautician

Education: Some college, cosmetology school

Political Experience: 12 years on the Statham City Council

Family: Divorced; children Wendy Maxie, 42, and Marvin Thrasher, 39; five grandchildren

Contact: 2042 Dentura St., 770-725-7696