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Political Forum set for Oct. 24

Early voting will be offered at the registrar’s office through Nov. 1. Citizens can learn more about local candidates at a Political Forum set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24. The Political Forum is sponsored by the Pike County Farm Bureau and will be held at the Pike Farm Bureau office. ’Many of our members in the community are farmers and this is an opportunity for us to get together and see what the candidates’ views are on certain issues. And we hope this will be a chance for those who are attending the forum, especially those from District 3, to be able to meet the candidates and get a feel of who will do the best job for District 3,’ said John Mixon, Pike County Legislative Chair. For more about the Political Forum, call 770-567-3431. Four candidates qualified for the District 3 commission seat and candidates will battle for the Council 3 seat in Williamson and two Zebulon council seats. Concord voters will decide whether or not to allow liquor by the drink in the city. The Nov. 5 election will be handled by the Board of Elections and Registrations and all early voting will be at the Pike County Office of Elections and Registration. Each precinct will be open for voters on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Early voting will be offered Oct. 14 through Nov. 1 at the Office of Elections and Registration at 81 Jackson Street in Zebulon, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Absentee applications can be requested by phone, email or in person at 770-567-2003, or the Office of Elections and Registration on Jackson Street. The absentee applications must be returned to the office or mailed back in and then a ballot will be mailed. The ballot has to be returned by Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. Four candidates will battle for the District 3 commission seat formerly held by Tommy Powers, including Jason Proctor and Robby Kendrick, both of Meansville, and Misty Meeks and Jerome Finley, both of Zebulon. The city of Zebulon will have two contested seats, with former mayor Mike Beres and Anthony Nalls running for the District 2, Post 2 seat. Longtime and incumbent District 1, Post 2 council member David Woods will face Claude Hollis in the Nov. 5 election as well. Molena and Zebulon will get new mayors although the candidates are running unopposed. Joyce Corley will be the new mayor of Molena and Joe Walter will be the new mayor of Zebulon. Other candidates who have no opposition include Jennifer Riggins for the Post 1 seat in Molena and Damon Riggins for the Post 2 seat in Molena; Josh Caldwell for Post 3, Subrenna Weathers for Post 4 and Ric Calhoun for Post 5, all in Concord; Council 1 member Stephen Levin, Council 4 member Carol Berry and Council 5 member Brenda Bennett, all in Williamson; and Dewey Yarbrough for the District 2, Post 1 seat in Zebulon. Each candidate was asked the following five questions: 1. What was your primary reason for seeking public office? 2. Why do you feel you are qualified to hold this office? 3. What do you plan to accomplish if/when you are elected? 4. What do you feel is the county/city’s greatest asset and how do you plan to protect it? 5. How would you be accountable to voters and citizens? Candidates for the District 3 board of commission: Jerome Finley 1. My reasons for seeking public office may seem pretty selfish, but I enjoy living here! My wife was born, raised and graduated from PiCoHi. My daughters graduated from PiCoHi and still live here. My oldest grandson is in first grade at Pike elementary and my granddaughter attends Kids’ Konnection. I want Pike County to remain the rural place it is and a place where my family will enjoy living for generations. 2. I have been active in government for years as 1st and 3rd district commissioner and as a clerk for the city of Meansville. Through my previous experience as a commissioner and working in a small city, I have learned how to do much with little. I would like to carry this forward in serving again as 3rd District Commissioner. 3. My main goal would be to keep taxes low, but still provide necessary services. To this end, I would examine closely everything that comes before the county commission, seeking to keep costs as low as possible. There are many challenges facing our county. Many people want to live here and there is a continued request for more services and the needs/wants of the citizens will have to be weighed against how much we are willing to pay in taxes. 4. The greatest asset of Pike County is its people. Everywhere I go the people are nice. There is a small town atmosphere here even as we grow. If I didn’t watch state and national news, I would think that all is well with the world! Controlling growth, with proper planning, will help us to maintain this rural atmosphere. 5. I will always be available to the citizens of Pike. My telephone numbers will be published and I will be transparent with the public. Meetings with citizens will be arranged and I will do everything possible to answer your questions. Robby Kendrick Jr. 1. To serve my community. I have lived in our district for 45 years. I would like to give back to our county. 2. I have ran businesses with large crews. I have owned several of them myself. I work well with others. 3. I hope that I can answer the questions that I have been being asked. I want to work to keep our small town feel and supply our needs. 4. Our county’s greatest asset is our small town communities. I think we may be able to slow down a bit on subdivisions and deal with the growth spurt we’re in now. 5. When elected, I will have a published number to be reached at as well as on Facebook. I can also be reached at Misty Meeks 1.) I want to be the voice for the citizens of District 3. About two years ago, I became concerned about the higher insurance rates in the area of District 3 where I reside. I met with neighbors and learned this was a concern to many. I researched to find a solution and became the voice who took the matter to the commissioners. Since then, I have attended other meetings to stay informed about issues impacting my community. With this election, I have an opportunity to continue to be a voice for my neighbors in District 3.  2.) I am qualified to hold this office because I care about how issues affect every citizen, not only in my district, but for the whole county. Because of my strong integrity, I do not have any hesitation to speak up about issues that will benefit our citizens, even if it may be contrary to the other commissioners. I moved to Pike County shortly after meeting my husband, Ben, and I have developed a love and passion for my county and my neighbors.  3.) If elected, I will ensure the citizens of Pike remain informed about the issues that come to the board of commissioners, especially those that relate to the expenditure of tax dollars. I want citizens to feel they have someone who will listen to them and bring their concerns to the board.  4.) I feel the county’s greatest asset is the county’s rural character and the sense of community among its citizens. We want to bring jobs and enterprise to Pike County, along with efforts to lower taxes, but we need to do it with careful planning as well as the input of the people.  5.) I will continue to be accessible to the citizens, listening to the various needs and concerns brought forth. I would like our district to start to hold town meetings so citizens can directly address the concerns they have, so they can be taken to the commissioners. I will ensure transparency in all aspects of my duties as a commissioner. Jason Proctor 1. I believe that public service is performed best by servant leaders who have the time, energy and enthusiasm to meet the growing needs and changing demands of the county. Serving as a commissioner requires great care and commitment and I feel that my dedication and involvement will be an asset to the community and to the board. ‘¨2. As a business owner in the community, I have experience and insight into aspects such as budgeting, bid processes, tax obligations, managing employees and working with the various city and county agencies that citizens encounter on a daily basis. As a resident of 34 years, I know the history of the county, and I am familiar with where some of the current strengths and weaknesses lie, so I will use my understanding of both of those to responsibly guide Pike County into a future that we can continue to be proud of. 3. When I am elected, I intend to explore and implement alternative revenue generators in order to alleviate the growing tax burdens imposed on the residents. The current tax base is severely skewed so I plan to balance that in a sustainable way, keeping in mind that every solution cannot be approached and addressed in the same manner. I will also practice objective decision making, sound reasoning, and fair policy practices for the citizens I represent. I will provide consistency and confidence to those within my district, as well as the county as a whole. My time in office will be spent ensuring that the decisions made at this pivotal point will continue to affect the county in a positive manner for many years to come. 4. One of the county’s greatest assets is the school system. That campus holds our future as a community so we must be diligent in planning for and supporting the needed expansions, facilities improvements, and adequate staffing. Our community culture places very high value in the development and investment of our children, and we want to ensure that the school system remains a competitive contender when recruiting the greatest educators. Assisting the board of education in their strategies for growth and improvement is imperative to the vitality of the community and will further enhance their impact as a major economic driver for Pike County. 5. I will be accountable to the citizens of Pike County by being easily accessible to hear their concerns. I am very approachable and welcome any opportunities to speak to my fellow neighbors and citizens of the county. I will listen and respond as quickly as possible, trying my best to solve issues and address needs in a proactive manner. Zebulon District 1, Post 2 Claude Hollis 1. My reason for seeking this office is because I want to make a difference in my community and I want to be a part of my community. 2. I’ve been in government for over half of my life and because I have a vast knowledge of the city and I think I’m qualified to hold this office. 3. I plan to keep moving the city forward and keep it a nice place to live and to attract people to Zebulon to live and raise a family. 4. I think the city’s greatest asset is its citizens and I would protect them by making sure they get the best services for their tax dollars. 5. I would have an open-door policy and anybody could come to me with a complaint or problem and I will get back with them and speak to citizens through public meetings. David Woods 1. I first ran for office many years ago and my reason was to make a contribution to the city and share my knowledge and experience with the city. 2. Some of my qualifications come from being in the military but I was also a union steward for 34 years and I was able to protect the workers and the company and with that knowledge I can help the city of Zebulon. 3. I would like to see the park completed with a longer walking trail. We also hope to attract some more industrial businesses and I think we are on track to doing that. 4. Our city is beautiful and has good water. We need to focus on not overloading the city and keeping good, clean water for people to drink and enjoy. 5. Most people in my district know me and when a complaint comes up, they call me and I try to take care of it. They have my phone number and I take their issues to the city council. No city council member should think they own the city or they are the boss of the city. Everything concerns taking care of the citizens and that’s why I bring issues and present them to the council. Zebulon District 2, Post 2 candidates Mike Beres 1. Zebulon has been my home for over 30 years. It is my belief that you take care of what you love and cherish. I have seen a lot of changes over the years, and my goal is to work with council and mayor to make future changes positive ones for our city and its citizens. 2. I am a level-headed person who thinks through any decision that must be made. I feel this quality helps me to better serve by working with the council and mayor through unified decision making. I also willingly accept responsibilities with outside entities. I have served as a councilman and mayor, but I have also represented Zebulon on the Three Rivers Regional Commission, Upper Flint Committee of the Georgia Water Management, Pike County Board of Health, Pike County Transportation Committee, Georgia Workforce and I served as president of GMA District 4. I feel my experience makes me a better-informed representative for Zebulon and its citizens. 3. If I am elected, I plan to work with council and mayor to strengthen our city codes and policies in order to manage future growth in a positive manner. Growth is inevitable and that is why it is so important for officials to work together to ensure that it will be workable for Zebulon and its citizens. 4. The city has many wonderful assets. Our citizens are some of the best anywhere in this country. Our school system is much-desired and becoming well known in our region and state. Our location is prime for future growth which must be regulated. Our uniqueness in that we are not a cookie cutter community is a special asset. That is why our cities and county must work together to protect our quality of life. Updating building and zoning codes is a must. 5. Being accountable means listening to the citizens, which can be done by phone, email or attending council meetings. My door is always open to any concern. I am only the servant of the citizens, and their interests will always be my priority. Anthony Mark Nalls 1. I am running because as a resident of Zebulon, I have gained continued pride for my home, my neighborhood, my community and my city. It is my desire to make a difference, to address the needs for the residents of Zebulon, to be their voice passing legislation, approving budgets and creating rules and regulations. I also want be a voice for the people on continued planned growth and development representing all. 2. With more than 30 years experience in business, centering on purchasing and planning, I have the professional knowledge to help manage our city. As a father and grandfather I understand the needs of growing families and what it takes to attract them to our city; while at the same time having common sense to be mindful to preserve Zebulon’s small town family friendly atmosphere. 3. My goal as a city councilman for Zebulon would be to earn the respect and trust from the residents of Zebulon for the office with which they have entrusted me; to continue planned progress, remain focused on what is best for Zebulon, strengthen municipal finances, maintain strong safety and city services and to protect the best interest of the residents. I would also hope to be successful by listening to others, respecting everyone’s opinion, seeking collaborations over conflict and consistently choosing what is just and right. 4. This by far is the easiest question asked of me. The answer is Zebulon and the people of Zebulon. Zebulon is home, the place my family and I feel safe. It’s a wonderful small town where people wave, smile, where we can walk down the street day or night and feel safe. Where neighbors show genuine concern for their neighbor’s well-being. To protect this way of life, I would be an advocate for the residents of Zebulon, communications with our public safety department, to ensure our officers are informed and equipped to keep our streets safe. 5. By making myself accessible to voters and citizens, actively seeking feedback on issues and/or concerns within our community. To make sure not to take the feedback personally, but as an opportunity to improve. To ensure that the people in Zebulon have a representative that will convey their desires for the well-being of their neighborhood and community. Williamson Council 3 candidates Tom Brown 1. I was asked by the mayor to serve on the planning commission shortly after my move to Williamson. I was elected by the commission as chairman and have taken an active role in growth issues. I observed some issues I felt were important to the future of the city and chose to run for office. The councilperson who held the seat resigned and moved away so my decision to serve was easy. 2. As a small business owner, I deal with regulations, ordinances and laws on a daily basis. I have an unique understanding of how federal, state and local governments interact with both businesses and residents. Operating within budgets, creating budgets and the process of putting work out for bid are my strong points. Our business has been successful for more than 20 years, even during the great recession. I believe that experience will bode well for the city and its residents. 3. I plan to streamline the building permit process and enforce the applicable ordinances and state laws; develop a purchasing process the includes both the mayor and council; invest and reserve funds for infrastructure to stay ahead of growth; be active at all meetings and never be a rubber stamp; and question all expenditures to be a good steward of the taxpayers’ money. 4. We have a rural setting with that small town feel that reminds me of where I grew up some years ago. I will honor its history and ensure all growth is within the ordinances for the city. Families like mine moved here to recapture the small town feeling. That is why others will come and why we need to protect that charm over developers greed. 5. Of course the election is the most input voters have into government and who runs the city. As a taxpayer myself, my promise is to offer email and telephone communication to all the citizens of Williamson with any concerns, because it’s their money and their city. Bunny Scoggins 1. I want to continue building a better community and better relationships while maintaining our small town atmosphere and historic past. 2. I care deeply about Williamson and love my community and want to conserve our traditional lifestyle. 3. I plan to support, encourage and continue our plans for a new city hall / meeting place as well as our planned amphitheater in the park. 4. In Williamson, we cherish our past and plan carefully for our future so that we can retain our small-town atmosphere and rural traditions. 5. It is not about me but about what my constituents and fellow residents want. I keep my hand on the pulse of the community by participating and volunteering in most events held in the city.

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