Mitcham sets sights on Dis­trict 3 seat

Fifth-gen­er­a­tion farmer seeks pub­lic of­fice for first time

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Rachel Oswald

Lo­cal farmer Keith Mitcham has thrown his hat into the Dis­trict 3 Com­mis­sioner race.

Mitcham, who will be run­ning as a Repub­li­can, will be op­posed by lo­cal busi­ness­man and Demo­crat Jimmy Clark. The cur­rent Dis­trict 3 com­mis­sioner, Repub­li­can Ester Flem­ing, has an­nounced he will not seek re-elec­tion this Novem­ber. This is the first pub­lic of­fice Mitcham has run for.

Mitcham is a fifth-gen­er­a­tion New­ton County farmer. His fam­ily farm, Mitcham Cat­tle Com­pany, is over a cen­tury old. The Mitcham farm is a 1,000 cat­tle stocker op­er­a­tion. The farm is also well known for an­nu­ally host­ing Colonel Cob’s Corn Maze.

“ See­ing the growth over the past few years, I guess my main rea­son would be preser­va­tion,” Mitcham said of his mo­ti­va­tion to seek pub­lic of­fice. “You’re not go­ing to be able to stop com­mer­cial growth. I’m not for zero growth but I guess smart growth.”

Mitcham said hewas in fa­vor of keep­ing all of the cur­rent con­ser­va­tion ease­ments in place, in­clud­ing re­quire­ments on the min­i­mum size of new homes, which is cur­rently 1,800 heated square feet. Clark has said he would like to see the min­i­mum size low­ered to al­low for the build­ing of smaller homes.

Mitcham said he was in sup­port of “any­thing that we can do to pre­serve farm land [and] wooded ar­eas.”

“I be­lieve what makes a good politi­cian is not what he says but what he hears,” Mitcham, 33, said. “I re­ally want to get out and hear the voice of the peo­ple.”

Mitcham is a mem­ber of the New­ton County Farm Bureau where he serves on the bureau’s board of direc­tors and is chair­man of the bureau’s leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee. He also serves on the Ge­or­gia Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Com­mit­tee. In 2004 Mitcham and his wife, Sandi, were the state win­ners of the Young Farmer Achieve­ment Award.

A grad­u­ate of New­ton County High School, Mitcham also at­tended Abra­ham Bald­win Agri­cul­tural Col­lege. The Mitchams have two sons and are mem­bers of Ox­ford Bap­tist Church.

“There’s no way of stop­ping growth in New­ton County but I do re­ally want to pre­serve [the county],” Mitcham said. “I think if we can keep the right kind of growth in New­ton County, a lot of the prob­lems will solve them­selves as far as rev­enue.”


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