0

Barrow primary includes commission, school board, magistrate

ELECTION CENTRAL

Visit our special election section for complete coverage of the 2012 primaries, HERE.

WINDER -- The primary race for elected positions in Barrow County includes county commission hopefuls, a potential new school board member and a post for Chief Magistrate.

In Districts 1 and 2, candidates are vying for seats which will be vacated by incumbents Larry Joe Wilburn and Eva Elder, respectively, who will not seek re- election.

District 3 Incumbent Steve Worley will vie for office against a fellow Republican. The winner of the primary will face Democrat Johnny Smith.

Meanwhile, former Braselton Mayor Pat Graham is running unopposed for the post of Barrow County Commission Chairman, which will be vacated by Daniel Yearwood Jr, who has announced a bid for state senate.

District 8 board of education member Mitch Churchill hopes to hold on to his post while facing off against a longtime, local educator.

In the Chief Magistrate race, a political newcomer plans a bid against longtime Judge June Davis.

Davis, who has held the post for nearly 12 years, said she hopes to continue as Chief Magistrate.

"I think every person has a right to have their cases heard in a court of law," Davis said. "All citizens are deserving of a fair trial."

Challenger Monica Hunter Durden, a 1990 Winder-Barrow High School graduate, is a paralegal for Scott, Wells and McElwee. It's her second attempt to unseat the incumbent.

"I have always been a person that wants to serve the community," Durden said. "I grew up in a family where parents and grandparents served the community and country. I want to render those same services."

In the bid for the District 8 board of education post, political newcomer Phil Thornton aims to unseat Churchill.

A retired longtime educator with Barrow County Schools, Thornton said he hopes to bring his experience to the table. "I've held every type of position in public schools," Thornton said. "I know how decisions being made at the top will affect the classroom, the teacher and students."

Churchill, who has held the District 8 seat for nearly 8 years, said his background in running a business has served him well.

"As a board we want to continue to be fiscally responsible and continue to celebrate the successes going on in our school system," Churchill said.

To fill a soon-to-be-vacant District 1 commission seat, Republicans Jerry Lampp and Joe Goodman will square off.

Lampp, a retired business owner who has held the commission post before for 8 years, said he aims to "make Barrow better. It's got so much to offer. We've got infrastructure in place as well as fair roads and fair water."

Opponent Joe Goodman, a consultant by trade, said he hopes to "create communication between the board of commissioners and the citizens of Barrow County. There's been a lot of disconnects with the current board, and I want to help create transparency."

In the District 2 race, which will also not feature an incumbent, William J. Brown will go up against Kenny Shook.

A business owner, Shook has never held political office. He said he hopes to "restore government to its respectful role of management and oversight," as well as "honesty and integrity."

Brown, a retired employee of Wika Instrument Corp., has served on the Barrow County Board of Commissioners in the past for a total of 12 years. He said that if elected he would "concentrate on commercial growth."

Added Brown: "At this critical time in our county, I think we need experience, and I can bring that to the table."

Incumbent Steve Worley has held the post for four years. If re-elected, he hopes to "strengthen economic development and get county and cities to work together...if we utilize our employees and staff, we can accomplish a lot more by working together."

Worley faces Scott Vickery, a political newcomer and project manager with the Gwinnett County Department of Transportation.

Vickery said he would "like to see the county work with the state to see some improvements in the county ... in addition, we want to keep property taxes low, but we want property values to be competitive."

The winner of the primary will go on to face Democrat Johnny Smith, a former Barrow County Commissioner and retired superintendent of Gainesville Public Lands and Building.

Smith said he hopes to "bring the commission together to work as a unit...right now there's too much turmoil. I think we need to get together and serve the public and be transparent."

County Commission - District 1

Joe Goodman

• Party: Republican

• Age: 34

• Education: Winder Barrow High School; Associate of science degree from Gainesville State College

• Occupation:National Pollution Discharge Elimination system consulting

• Political Experience: Barrow County Planning Commission for 5 years

• Family: wife, Denise, three kids, Madelyn, 10, Ava, 7, Grant, 3

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

I’m committed to our community, and I will be dedicated to making informed decisions. I’m not afraid to ask a question.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

Create communication between the board members and the citizens of barrow, there’s been a lot of disconnects with the current board. I also want to help create transparency.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

I am willing to work to get the information that’s needed to make the best choice for our county, and I’m not afraid to stand up for what I believe in.

Jerry Lampp

• Party: Republican

• Age: 69

• Education: Grammar school

• Occupation: Retired, owned a battery sales business.

• Political Experience: Commissioner for about 10 years off and on

• Family: wife, Judy; four kids, David, Ken, Jeffery and Jason

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

Let’s make Barrow better. I want to work with the legislature and try to sell Barrow county. It’s got so much to offer. We’ve got the infrastructure in place, fair roads and fair water.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

I want to get the BOC working together as a team.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

Experience

County Commission - District 2

William J. Brown

• Party: Republican

• Age: 68

• Education: High School

• Occupation: Retired from Wika Instrument Corp.

• Political Experience: Served on the Barrow County Board of Commissioners for more than 12 years; served on the planning commission from 84-2000.

• Family: Wife, Jane; son, William Todd Brown, and daughter, Marsha Wages; and three grandchildren.

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

Working to do what’s best for the people and working to give them the services they need and the basic services we’ve got to have…at the lowest tax rate you can give them. The bottom line is money, give the most you can to the citizens for their taxes and let them know they’re getting something for their money.

With the economic downturn in the whole country … we have got to look at our count for commercial growth. There is commercial growth happening…and I think that with our location on 316 and the availability of land and the infrastructure we have in place, there will be businesses wanting to locate. We’ve got to market our county, we’ve got to do soothing to get our revenues up, tax base and furnish jobs to our county.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

We have got to concentrate on commercial growth.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

I have experience, and I’ve dealt with budget problems, and we’ve certainly got that now. I know what it takes to make the hard decisions. At this critical time in our county, I think we need experience, and I think I bring that to the table.

Kenny Shook

• Party: Republican

• Age: 43

• Education: Middle Georgia College and Augusta College, graduated with bachelor’s degree in marketing; graduated from Winder-Barrow High School.

Winder-Barrow High School

• Occupation: Business owner

• Political Experience: None

• Family: wife, Dawn; three kids, Tyler, 22, Caitlin, 20, and Cole, 18

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

Restoring government to its respectful role of management and oversight … transparency accountability, honesty and integrity.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

To change the perception of Barrow County and its government. Current perception is that the government is out of control … and insensitive.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

I’m a business owner, not a politician. I desire to be a public servant. Running a business has taught me how to serve people. I understand the economy and I understand finances, budgets and working within those parameters.

County Commission - District 3

Johnny Smith

• Party: Democrat

• Age: 73

• Education: Columbia College, Columbia, Mo., bachelor’s degree in history and government

• Occupation: Retired military and retired city of Gainesville superintendent of public lands and building.

Political Experience: Served as Barrow County commissioner from 1988 to 2001.

• Family: Wife, Lizzie; daughter, Beverly; and son, Daryl.

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

We should serve people and guard their money the same way as if it’s our own money.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

We need to have the whole group of commissioners work as a unit, and right now there’s too much turmoil. I think we need to get together and serve the public and be transparent. No secret meetings.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

I know how government works. I can do a better job, because I don’t have an axe to grind.

Scott Vickery

• Party: Republican

• Age: 49

• Education: Graduated Winder-Barrow High School in 1980

• Occupation: Project manager for Gwinnet County Department of Transportation

• Family: Wife, Christy; two children, Kayla, 17 and Matt, 14

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

Conservative…it’s a tough economy. My hope is that things will turn around shortly. I feel we’re in need of some transportation improvements.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

I would like to see the county work with the state to see some transportation improvements in the county. I want to try to get as much grant money as we can to help with resurfacing to take the burden off regular maintenance. Also, we want to keep property taxes low but we want property values to be competitive.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

I’m a people person, always had an ability to speak to people one on one and understand their problems. I would like to convey their concerns and questions to represent the people.

Steve Worley (incumbent)

• Party: Republican

• Age: 50

• Education: Attended Landmark College in Florida for a couple years, then air force college.

• Occupation: city of Monroe public works director, 16 years; also worked with Georgia Department of Transportation.

• Political Experience: County commissioner, four years

• Family: wife, Susan; children, Heath, 25; twins: Rene and Ethan, both 21

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

I use my experience where I’ve worked with GDOT to help anyway I can with Barrow County procedures to departments and others. I have a vast variety of experience.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

Strengthening economic development and getting the county and cities to work together with funding and projects. If we utilize our employees and staff, we can accomplish a lot more by working together.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

My experience and background and knowledge in government.

Board of Education - District 8 (at large)

Mitch Churchill

• Party: Republican

• Age: 49

• Education: Graduated from Central Gwinnett; went to Young Harris College, got an associates degree in liberal arts

• Occupation: Operating partner of the Arby’s in Winder

• Political Experience: 7 1/2 years on school board; served on city council in Auburn for two years.

• Family: wife, Glenda; three children, Tony, Elizabeth and Zach; and three granddaughters.

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

I’m responsible for the needs of the people and I aim to be responsible with their tax money.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

The top goal is to continue to be financially responsible with our budget, which we’ve done a good job on … and we’ve not had to eliminate people. Also, to be fiscally responsible … and continue to celebrate the successes going on in our school system.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

I’m from a business standpoint having a strong understanding of what it takes to run a business.

Phil Thornton

• Party: Republican

• Age: 59

• Education: Specialists degree in education from University of Georgia; bachelor’s degree in education from North Georgia College & State University; graduated from Winder-Barrow High School.

• Occupation: Retired in 2006 as an educator; was a teacher, coach and administrator in Barrow, Jackson and Madison counties.

• Political Experience: none

• Family: wife, Jennifer, two kids, Quincy, daughter, 27 and Asa, 19

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

I’m a financial conservative.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

I want to protect the teachers and the kids as much as possible and try to make as little impact on classroom time as possible.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

The experience I have as a teacher. I’ve done it all, everything in the schools. Having that experience and knowing how those decisions being made at the top, knowing what that looks like in the classroom and how it affects the teachers and students.

Chief Magistrate

June Davis (incumbent)

• Party: Republican

• Age: 58

• Education: Gwinnett Technical College, associates degree in public safety; graduated from Winder-Barrow High School.

• Political Experience: Chief Magistrate for more than 11 years. Before this I was a police officer for 20 years.

• Family: Single; children, Misty and Shimen; and one granddaughter

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

I think that every person has a right to have their cases heard in a court of law, and that every person is innocent until proven guilty.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

To continue to restore the defendants’ sense of self worth. I have programs that give them the opportunity to get the education and get back into society and reduce recidivism.

Monica Hunter Durden

• Party: Republican

• Age: 39

• Education: Graduated from Winder-Barrow High School; associate’s degree from Athens Technical College.

• Occupation: Paralegal for Scott, Wells and McElwee

• Political Experience: this is my second go-round. I ran four years ago and was unsuccessful.

• Family: Married; three kids, Dahlia, 14, Ariel, 11 and Quinteriel, 11.

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

I have always been a person that wants to serve the community. I grew up in a family where my parents and grandparents served the community and country. I want to render those same services they rendered. With my educational experience, I feel as though this position is the best position for me.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

Make sure I form a good relationship with the office staff. If that relationship is formed, then you have a good working environment that the services we render to the public will be a good product.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

My 20 experience in the legal field, and I’m fair and impartial.