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Sheriff, BOC seats up for grabs in Barrow

ELECTION COVERAGE

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A longtime veteran of the sheriff's office is vying for his boss' job and a former commissioner is going up against an incumbent in two high-profile Barrow County races Tuesday.

James Vernard Scott Sr. is running on the Democratic ticket to try to unseat current Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith, who has been in the role since 2008. In the Board of Commissioners, 73-year-old Democratic challenger Johnny Smith -- a commissioner for more than a decade, primarily in the '90s -- is attempting to take the District 3 seat from incumbent Steve Worley.

In the sheriff's race, Scott said he wants to work on "restoring professionalism and courteous treatment of all citizens of Barrow County." He stressed community-oriented policing and fiscal responsibility.

The 24-year law enforcement veteran -- including 19 with Barrow -- is running on the Democratic ticket but said a good sheriff should be non-partisan.

"As sheriff, I will not be a Democratic or Republican sheriff," he said, "but the sheriff of Barrow County equally representing all citizens of Barrow County."

Smith, 36, has big goals for the sheriff's office. The father of two said he wants the department to "continue to be an agency that is recognized in the top 10 percent of all law enforcement agencies across the state."

Smith, who has a master's degree in public administration, said his "actual agenda" set him apart from his competitor.

"I have set goals for us to achieve the next four years, as opposed to my opponent, who has only focused his campaign on the single issue of improving jail conditions for inmates," Smith said.

In Barrow's Board of Commissioners, Democratic candidate Johnny Smith hopes to bring his past experience to the District 3 seat.

Smith, a retired military man and Gainesville superintendent of public lands and buildings, was a Barrow commissioner from 1988 to 2001. He said he doesn't "have an axe to grind" and that his primary mission if elected would be to bring the BOC together.

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

Worley, 50, is the city of Monroe's public works director and a father of three. The Republican incumbent said his work experience and time as a commissioner set him apart from Smith.

Worley's goals if re-elected, he said, would be "strengthening economic development and getting the county and cities to work together with funding and projects."

Candidate bios and questions

FOR SHERIFF

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Jud Smith

Jud Smith (i)

Age: 36

Political Party: Republican

Education: Master’s degree in public administration and bachelor’s degree in criminal justice

Occupation: Barrow County sheriff

Political Experience: Elected as sheriff in 2008

Family: Wife Stephanie; children Conyer, 7, and Addison, 4

• What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office: As sheriff my job is to provide for the safety and security of Barrow County and her citizens. My goal is to provide the most efficient, fair, ethical and transparent law enforcement agency without being a burden to the taxpayers that we serve.

• Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle: We are now a state certified agency and I want to continue to be an agency that is recognized in the top 10 percent of all law enforcement agencies across the state. I want to continue to provide the necessary service to our citizens by retaining the professional men and women who serve our citizens every day.

• What sets you apart from your competitor: I feel what sets us apart is that I have an actual agenda affecting all areas of the sheriff’s office. I have set goals for us to achieve the next four years, as opposed to my opponent, who has only focused his campaign on the single issue of improving jail conditions for inmates.

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James Vernard Scott Sr.

James Vernard Scott Sr.

Age: 47

Political Party: Democrat

Education: Bachelor’s of science in criminal justice

Occupation: Police officer

Political Experience: None

Family: Son James Vernard Scott Jr., 21

• What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office: The office of a sheriff should be non-partisan, because the law is blind to political party affiliations. As sheriff, I will not be a Democratic or Republican sheriff, but the sheriff of Barrow County equally representing all citizens of Barrow County.

• Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle: Restoring professionalism and courteous treatment of all citizens of Barrow County, with an emphasis on community oriented policing, while being fiscally responsible with the tax dollars entrusted to me by the citizens of Barrow County.

• What sets you apart from your competitor: Knowledge, training, and experience. I have over 24 years of law enforcement experience, 19 of those years spent at the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office working and learning every aspect of the sheriff’s office to prepare myself for one day becoming sheriff.

FOR BOC, DISTRICT 3

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Steve Worley

Steve Worley (i)

Age: 50

Political Party: Republican

Education: Some college

Occupation: City of Monroe public works director

Political Experience: County commissioner, four years

Family: wife, Susan; children Heath, 25, and twins Rene and Ethan, 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 any way 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.

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Johnny C. Smith

Johnny Smith

Age: 73

Political Party: Democrat

Education: Bachelor’s degree in history and government from Columbia College, Columbia, Mo.

Occupation: Retired military and retired city of Gainesville superintendent of public lands and buildings

Political Experience: Barrow County commissioner, 1988-2001

Family: Wife, Lizzie; daughter, Beverly; 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 was 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.