CAN­DI­DATES

The Covington News - - Front page -

pro­files writ­ten pre­vi­ously in The News. To read the ini­tial story about ev­ery lo­cal can­di­date, visit The News’ 2010 elec­tion page at cov­news. com/ news/ sec­tion/ 124. In ad­di­tion, the ma­jor­ity of BOE can­di­dates at­tended a June 21 fo­rum, hosted by the Newton County Voter’s League; their thoughts from that fo­rum can also be read at cov­news.com.

Al­though can­di­dates were not asked ques­tions at the fo­rum, Smart Growth did send each can­di­date three ques­tions about why res­i­dents should vote for them, how they could at­tract busi­ness and in­dus­try to in­crease the tax base and what they thought about the re­cently re­leased “2050 Build Out Plan.” Some can­di­dates re­turned writ­ten re­sponses which are posted at smart­growth­new­ton­county. com, un­der the “Can­di­date Fo­rum” sec­tion on the left side­bar.

BOE Can­di­dates Ron Hart, District 1, Toney D. Collins, District 3, and Abi­gail Mor­gan-Cog­gin, District 5, did not at­tend Mon­day’s fo­rum. Collins is out of the county on ac­tive mil­i­tary duty, while Mor­gan-Cog­gin was away on a fam­ily vacation. District 5 can­di­date Sharon Sawyer at­tended this fo­rum; she missed a June 21 fo­rum be­cause of an ac­ci­dent on I-20. home­town at­mos­phere of the county, while bring­ing in the ameni­ties that he and other for­mer Metro At­lanta res­i­dents were used to.

Sim­mons said the nu­mer­ous traf­fic sig­nals placed at busy District 2 in­ter­sec­tions were among his proud­est ac­com­plish­ments. He specif­i­cally pointed out the sig­nals placed at the in­ter­sec­tion of Smith Store and Salem roads and the in­ter­sec­tion of Ga. 20, Ga. 212 and Brown Bridge Road. In ad­di­tion, the stop­light which will be con­structed later this year at the in­ter­sec­tion of Oak Hill Road and Ga. High­way 212 will be an­other needed im­prove­ment, Sim­mons said.

He also fo­cused on the cur­rent con­struc­tion tak­ing place on the Porter Me­mo­rial Branch Li­brary, lo­cated at 6190 High­way 212 next to the fire sta­tion, which is ex­pected to be com­pleted and opened in Jan­uary 2011.

Fi­nally, Sim­mons spoke about the cre­ation of Denny Dobbs Park, which his called “my baby.” The park, lo­cated at the corner of Ga. High­way 212 and Richard Chapel Road, is set to open July 17 and will in­clude ball fields, bas­ket­ball courts, pav­il­ions, play­grounds and walk­ing trails.

Sim­mons said the li­brary and park rep­re­sent the ad­di­tion of ameni­ties he promised to bring to the district.

Sims fo­cused on his ex­pe­ri­ence with his other busi­ness South­ern Homes Un­lim­ited, which helps res­i­dents fac­ing fore­clo­sure and other com­pli­cated real es­tate prob­lems. Sims co-owns the busi­ness with his wife Bionca. He said he and his wife have helped hun­dreds of peo­ple avoid fore­clo­sure — for free. He also talked about his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the lo­cal Ro­tary club and said the group’s motto matched his own — “Ser­vice Above Self.” He said these two ac­tiv­i­ties show his com­mit­ment to com­mu­nity in­volve­ment.

Sims said if ev­ery res­i­dent and politician would fol­low Ro­tary’s four-way test for mak­ing de­ci­sions the world would be much im­proved. The steps in­volve ask­ing whether some­thing is the truth, is fair, will build good­will and bet­ter friend­ships and will be ben­e­fi­cial to all concerned.

He said his goals are to re­duce crime, some­thing he plans to do by work­ing with Sher­iff Ezell Brown, whom Sims said has al­ready made strides, and con­tinue to im­prove traf­fic. While he re­al­izes the widen­ing of Salem Road may not hap­pen soon, he said one im­me­di­ate so­lu­tion could be to put a traf­fic of­fi­cer at the in­ter­sec­tion of Salem and Brown Bridge roads dur­ing busy times, par­tic­u­lar once school is back in ses­sion, to wave cars through and cre­ate an im­proved flow.

Fi­nally, he said he would like to see life skills pro­grams started at the Porter Me­mo­rial li­brary and more lo­cal churches.

Repub­li­can District 2 can­di­date Rickie Cor­ley did not at­tend the fo­rum. Sims and Sim­mons will face off in the July 20 pri­mary. Early vot­ing is now avail­able at the Newton County Board of Elec­tion of­fice lo­cated at 1113 Usher St.

Demo­cratic In­cum­bent Com­mis­sioner J.C. Hen­der­son took a sim­i­lar ap­proach to Sim­mons and listed his ac­com­plish­ments dur­ing his 14 years in of­fice.

He be­gan by talk­ing about how as a young­ster he used to run, and later con­fi­dently walk, the streets around the Washington Street Com­mu­nity Cen­ter. In later years, he re­mem­bered walk­ing the area with For­rest Sawyer Sr., who had a dream to turn the de­te­ri­o­rated build­ing at 4138 School St. into a build­ing for the com­mu­nity. Hen­der­son said Sawyer Sr.’s vi­sion en­cour­aged the com­mis­sioner to work to have the Washington Street Com­mu­nity Cen­ter placed on the 2000 SPLOST. He said he worked hard to en­sure the build­ing’s com­ple­tion, in­clud­ing in­spect­ing all work and sign­ing off on all checks, even though the build­ing was in District 2 at the time not his district.

Hen­der­son said he was also proud of the progress made to move the DMV to a new build­ing, the for­mer R. L. Cousins High School. He said peo­ple used to pass out in the heat at the old lo­ca­tion be­cause the line would ex­tend out­side of the build­ing. He thanked for­mer County Chair­man Aaron Varner, who was in at­ten­dance, for work­ing with him on those projects.

Fi­nally, Hen­der­son spoke about the re­cently com­pleted ren­o­va­tion of Wolverine Field, a new recre­ation fa­cil­ity in North Cov­ing­ton. He said he felt he had a made a dif­fer­ence dur­ing the more than 10 years he’s been in of­fice, and he hoped to con­tinue to move the county for­ward.

Demo­cratic chal­lenger Ken­neth Harde­man called WSCC his be­gin­ning, not­ing how he was raised in the com­mu­nity.

He said, “I am the 4th District,” not­ing that he was born and ed­u­cated there, worked there and raised his chil­dren there. He talked about his love for the 4th district and noted his pride in his four adult chil­dren, who have all gone on to own homes.

“They are not a bur­den on the tax­pay­ers, nor are they a bur­den on me,” he joked.

Harde­man said he was run­ning be­cause he has a vi­sion­ary zeal to move Newton County for­ward. He said wants to be a leader in the same vein as the re­cently de­ceased for­mer Chair­man Roy Varner, who saw that Newton County would need wa­ter and helped build the reser­voir Lake Varner, de­spite sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic op­po­si­tion at the time.

Al­though it was im­pos­si­ble to be­lieve at the time it was built, Lake Varner has out­lived its ca­pac­ity, Harde­man said, and he wants to be a part in help­ing build the county’s next reser­voir. He said he al­ways wants to fo­cus on try­ing to at­tract more in­dus­try and lo­cal jobs to the county to keep work­ers here.

“I don’t bring all the an­swers, but I want to try to give back and serve,” he said.

There are no Repub­li­can chal­lengers for the District 4 seat, so as in the past few elec­tions for the seat the race will be de­cided at the June 20 pri­mary.

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