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Commission candidates reach out

County seat competitors work to connect with potential voters before Tuesday

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    With the general election just around the corner,  four Bulloch County Commission hopefuls are still beating the bushes to get their messages out to constituents. Three commission seats are up for reelection, but District 1, Post B incumbent Anthony Simmons, a Democrat,  is unopposed.
    District 2 Post B incumbent Walter C. Gibson, Republican, is challenged by Democrat candidate Carlos Brown.
     District 2 Post D is up for grabs, since incumbent Bill Smith will end his tenure Dec. 31. Depending upon the election Tuesday, either Republican  Robert Rushing or Democrat Bobby Williams will take the seat.
    Williams has been campaigning heavily, using the “door to door approach,” he said.
    “You have to have personal contact with people, so people will know who they are talking to,” he said.
    If elected, Williams said he will be easily accessible. In his forays into the county on the campaign trail, he passed out cards with contact information to emphasize his intent to be reachable. “A majority of people are very appreciative of this.”
    If elected, he hopes to address rezoning and encourage those who have an interest in zoning issues to attend planning and zoning meetings.
    He also hopes to help educate the public on the different districts in the county and what the Bulloch County Commission does for the community.
    In visiting with citizens, he found that “people are confused about which areas each district covers and I’ve been asked what the county commission does.”
    He hopes to be elected and take part in decisions involving major county issues such as road improvements and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) projects such as the jail expansion and proposed agricultural arena.
    Williams, his wife Gail and other friends and family will await election results Tuesday night at Snella’s Place on U.S. 301 North.
    Rushing took a different approach, targeting voters in gathering places and businesses instead of approaching them at home. He said he is looking forward to Tuesday’s election.
    “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” he said.
    Campaigning has been going smoothly, he said.
    Issues Rushing hopes to address should he be elected include “accountability to taxpayers in maintaining lower taxes ... funding for law enforcement and fire protection ... and roads,” he said.
    He also hopes to see the commission working closely with the Bulloch County Board of Education “to ensure the best schools for Bulloch County children,” he said.
    Luring industry to the area and providing more jobs is another idea he hopes to achieve if elected, he said.
    Rushing will await election results with friends and family at Gnat’s Landing Tuesday.
    As of Friday, Brown had not yet determined where he will be as he awaits the election results with friends and family Tuesday night, but he did have answers about issues he hopes to address if elected.
    As a former fire chief for Register, Brown is aware of the need for continued improvements to public safety, as well as better maintenance and paving of roads so emergency vehicles can reach destinations.
    “The county is in need of additional fire stations, and we need to aggressively maintain and pave dirt roads,” he said.
    Brown is also an advocate of improving city and county park areas, promoting equity in law enforcement and supporting the Bulloch County School system, working with school board members to help raise test scores and decrease the drop-out rate.
    He also would like to be a part of a commission that locates EMS at fire stations in Portal, Stilson, Brooklet and Register, as well as increase the number of fire substations.
    “We have areas in this county which do not have sufficient fire protection,” he said.
    Gibson, who will be awaiting election results at Gnat’s Landing with family members and friends Tuesday night, also took the old-fashioned “neighborhood, door-to-door approach” in his campaign.
    “That’s basically the theme we’ve been following,” he said.
    If elected, this will be Gibson’s third term as Bulloch County commissioner. And if elected, he will continue to work towards road improvements. “I probably get more calls about roads than anything else,” he said.
    And he promised to visit areas involved in zoning matters or roads that need improvement, so as to be better informed before voting on issues, he said.
    Keeping taxes at “the lowest possible rates” and working to maintain a balanced budget while making sure all departments get what they need is a priority, he said.
    Other issues Gibson has been involved in and hopes to continue working with include the upcoming jail expansion, renovation of the old Bulloch County Hospital to form the Bulloch County Public Service Center,  and other SPLOST projects.
    Being accessible is also a priority with Gibson. “This job is strictly about public service,”he said. “If people call me, I call them back.”

    Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 489-9414.      
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