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Get to know your candidates

Pike County candidates for the May 24 general primary and nonpartisan general election have started campaigning for several important local offices. The Journal Reporter wants voters to be educated about their local candidates and will run short biographical articles on each candidate who submits one. Local offices up for reelection include sheriff, clerk of superior court, probate judge, chief magistrate judge, commission chairman, commission District 4 and school board District 5. There are several other candidates who qualified unopposed. CANDIDATES FOR SHERIFF: JIMMY THOMAS, INCUMBENT I’m running for re-election for sheriff of Pike County. It has been an honor to serve you the past 16 years. Through team efforts we provide professional leadership to make your family and home secure. I need your vote and support to maintain professional services Pike citizens deserve from the sheriff’s office.          I have over 30 years experience in public safety. I’ve completed three levels of management from the University of Georgia, crime scene processing, business ownership and the Police Academy, ‘¨graduating in 1980. I was employed at the Fayette County sheriff’s department and served on the Georgia Task Force in Florida during a national disaster. I have 120 hours investigation training at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center and graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. I earned the Award of Excellence from the Regional Organized Crime Information Center, developed a civil and warrant division, received awards for humanitarian assistance after Hurricane Katrina, placed two school resource officers, taught CHAMPS, developed a K-9 unit, received an award from National Equipment Register for one of the largest theft recoveries in Pike’s history, converted reports and jail management to electronic records paid for by inmate telephones, developed a training facility using drug funds, received recognition from the DEA and FBI for an investigation targeting a Mexican drug cartel and earned the 2012 Griffin Judicial Circuit Agency of the Year. I was appointed to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities by Gov. Nathan Deal. I want to continue to run the department with professionalism and integrity. GEOFFREY ZIMBELMAN, CHALLENGER Geoffrey Zimbelman has a great history of service to the community of Pike County. He has experience in law enforcement through the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, and has a proven record as a community leader and activist for conservative values and public safety. Vote for Geoffrey Zimbelman for Sheriff. Geoffrey Craig Zimbelman Jr. was born on March 8, 1985 in Fulton County, Georgia. His parents both served in the United States Army and were stationed at Fort Gillem in Forest Park Georgia. Geoffrey grew up in the Clayton and Henry County areas and graduated from the Peoples Baptist Academy in McDonough. While in school, he played sports and participated in other activities such as drama and chorus. During his summer breaks, Geoffrey enjoyed spending time helping his aunt and uncle at the New Dawning Ranch in North Carolina, a home for troubled youth, and traveling with a mission group called Craftsmen for Christ that provided volunteer labor to build and repair churches. Geoffrey graduated high school in 2003 and attended classes at Pensacola Christian College, planning to major in Criminal Justice. He had to return home due to finances and worked several jobs until he married his wife Julie in 2008. Later that year, Geoffrey and Julie started Exterior Accents of Atlanta, a home exteriors company specializing in decks and porches. Geoffrey began working as a jail officer for the Pike County Sheriff’s Office in 2010. He attended the Police Academy at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Columbus, and graduated with honors in 2012. Geoffrey and Julie moved to Pike County in the fall of the same year to fulfill a desire they both shared to be close to work, their church, and to be able to raise their children in the community they love.  CANDIDATES FOR SUPERIOR COURT CLERK CAROLYN WILLIAMS, INCUMBENT I am Carolyn Williams, serving as Clerk of Superior Court. I have streamlined the entire office’s function to be technologically advanced and efficient. I have done a lot of this without cost to the Pike County citizens. My staff is competent, with years of work experience. I live in Concord with my husband of 52 years, John. We have four children. One is a teacher at Pike County Middle School, one is a veteran and one son-in-law and daughter are veterans with 20 years service in the U.S. Army. We have 10 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. One grandson has served in the U.S. Navy. One granddaughter graduated college and is now a teacher, two are attending college currently and one starts at the University of Georgia in August. I was born in Atlanta. I attend Christ Chapel Community Church in Zebulon. I have completed more than 840 hours of training and earned a Certificate from the University of Georgia for the Certified Clerks’ Training. I am certified in Superior and Juvenile Court, Civil and Criminal Case Management, Jury Management, Financial Management, Human Resources, County Government, Legal Research, Real and Personal Property, Team Building, Fines, Fees and Forfeitures and Strategic Planning. I have recently implemented e-filing real estate documents and civil cases. My plans, if re-elected, are to continue this e-filing with the criminal cases. I have other plans to implement in the near future. It has always been an honor for me to serve as your Clerk of Superior Court. Pike County is my home and I love the people of Pike. I ask you to allow me to serve another term and complete the plans I have for this office. I love my job and ask that you vote to re-elect me as Clerk of Superior Court. REBEKAH HANSON, CHALLENGE My qualifications include an associate degree in Criminal Justice/Court Administration and Georgia Real Estate Commission License. I will promote a sound conservative fiscal policy and manage the office in a responsible manner. As a small business owner, I have the management, dedication, energy and organizational skills necessary to operate an efficient office with customer service as a priority. As a licensed real estate agent, I understand the value of proficiency and ease of use with regard to document review and permanent records. I am a proud citizen of Pike. I have dedicated my life to my faith in Jesus Christ, my family and my community. I am a member of Harvest Time Revival Church, married to John Hanson and have three daughters Elizabeth, Georgia and Audrey Hanson. I serve as a Pike County Arts Council board member, founder/director of the Junior Players and I am a Pike County 4-H volunteer. As Clerk, I will focus on availability, customer service and progress. I will be hands on and available to conduct business on behalf of Pike citizens. As an example, passport application will be available during business hours and not by appointment only. Excellent customer service will be a priority. I will ensure the clerk’s office is welcoming to the citizens and professionals who access the services provided on a daily basis. As the need for services grows, I will utilize technology and common sense to meet the challenges of the future. I will empower the staff to attend professional training while using their experience and talents for the benefit of Pike citizens and themselves. My plan will provide improved services while maintaining a conservative budget. Please vote on May 24 to elect Rebekah Hanson as clerk of Superior Court; see Facebook at Hansonforclerk or the website Hansonforclerk.com. CANDIDATES FOR PROBATE JUDGE: LYNN BRANDENBURG, INCUMBENT I am Lynn Brandenburg and I am seeking re-election as your probate judge. For the past 20 years I have been in office, I have been dedicated to keeping court expenses at a minimum and offering the best possible service to the public. I am prompt and courteous with the issuance of firearms permits, traffic court proceedings and all probate matters. I am also the county elections superintendent, coordinating all elements of the county and state election process. I recently completed an in-depth judicial training program through UGA, earning the new Probate Judge Certification required by the state. I have also completed the Georgia Election Official Certification program through the Secretary of State Office. As your probate judge, I will continue to operate the probate court in the same professional and efficient manner you have been accustomed to. Thank you, Lynn Brandenburg BRENT TAYLOR, CHALLENGER I am Brent Taylor and I am seeking the office of probate judge for Pike County because I believe God placed this on my heart. I am married to Clint Taylor and I have two children and two stepchildren, three of which attended Pike County schools. I received my paralegal certification with the University of Georgia’s paralegal certification program in 2008. I have served as a paralegal for our Pike County administrator for 7+ years. During this time I have gained experience in the probate process from start to finish. I have assisted many families who were faced with settling their loved ones’ estates and affairs during a very difficult period of time in their life. I have assisted with guardianships of adult and minor wards of the court, managing their income and expenses which provided me valuable insight in completing court-mandated reports. I have been active in local politics for the past several years, providing me with vast experience and knowledge of the election process. This will be a benefit to the citizens of Pike County as the probate judge serves as election supervisor. I have experience in general management and office management, which I will use to efficiently and effectively operate the probate court within the budgetary guidelines set by the county commissioners. I am past chapter leader for The Compassionate Friends of Central Georgia, a self-help support group for bereaved parents and families who have lost a child. I co-teach a Sunday school class at Oak Hill Baptist Church and serve as vice chairman of the Pike County Appeals Board. I am a member of the NRA and Georgiacarry.org. I promise integrity and I earnestly ask for your vote and support in electing me as your next Pike County Probate Judge on May 24, 2016.

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