The candidates in the Republican runoff for the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners Seat 2B urged voters to stop by the polls Tuesday or early voting on Thursday or Friday.
Both Travis Chance, an experienced former Statesboro city councilman, and seasoned incumbent Walter Gibson voiced concern recently over the anticipated low voter turnout for the upcoming runoff July 24.
“The low turnout is going to affect a lot of races, statewide and locally,” Gibson said. “But we are hoping for the best.”
Chance is also hoping for a better-than-anticipated turnout.
“I am ready to pick up the mallet and run with it,” he said.
He believes his experience as a former Statesboro city councilman would be an asset in improving the working relationship between city and county governments.
But, Gibson says his lengthy tenure as commissioner also supports a healthy partnership with the city.
Both have been working hard to reach potential supporters.
“We are very encouraged,” Chance said. “We have been hitting thousands of doors and meeting hundreds of people since March.”
Gibson said he feels the campaign before the runoff is doing well.
“We have been to gatherings and meetings, sent out cards and talked to people on the phone and met groups all over the county,” he said.
Both Gibson and Chance have been vocal on issues that concern them and residents of Bulloch County. One topic of interest is job growth.
“I feel that Bulloch County’s biggest challenge may be managing the unlimited potential that this wonderful place has to offer its citizens,” Chance said in an earlier interview. “This community has so many positive things to offer, and new projects are popping up every day. “Our proximity to Interstate 16 and the deepened Savannah port makes us an attractive location for the businesses in our growing state and national economy.”
Gibson said efforts to keep up with growth, locally and otherwise, is important, and attracting more business and industry that offers more jobs is a key component in that effort.
“Employment is a major issue with the county,” he said. “Technology and globalization is changing the way business and industry operate. Local leaders need to develop a common focus to provide a balanced mix of commerce in our community.”
Addressing Bulloch County’s ongoing waste management challenges, Gibson said, “Solid waste issues are not going away. If anything, they will continue to be a problem for the county and city as well.”
County residents need to take part in efforts to properly dispose of waste, and report violations, he said.
“We will have to continue working together, both the citizens and local government along with code enforcement and the sheriff’s department” in order to overcome illegal dumping and littering, he said.
Chance said he would explore solutions if elected.
“Waste management is an issue we may have to get more creative on,” he said. “With growth, more waste will be created by the sheer factor of increased consumption.”
Each candidate has several years of experience in local government. Chance gave up his seat on the Statesboro City Council in order to run for the county office, with plans to move out of the city district with his family.
He claims to have “a proven history of being fiscally conservative and staying committed to being readily accessible to my constituents.”
Gibson said, “If re-elected, I hope to continue to take advantage of my five-year term tenure on the Board of Commissioners to maintain the existing spirit and the approach the county has always taken toward transparency and good government.”
Chance has been a Bulloch County business owner for 10 years and has been in the financial services industry since 2005. He owns and operates a registered investment advisory firm, CFG Wealth Management.
He and his wife, Shannon, have three children. They are members of Connection Church in Statesboro and are very active in church activities. His hobbies include hunting, fishing, golf and “working on the maintenance of my late grandparents’ family farm.”
Gibson is a retired agriculture/forestry teacher from Statesboro High School whose hobbies include volunteering with various groups, working on his family farm in Charlton County, woodworking, traveling, reading and fishing.
He has been married to Dale Bussell Gibson for 42 years and they have two adult children.
He and his wife are members of Pittman Park United Methodist Church, where he has served as chairman of trustees, president of Methodist Men, usher captain and on numerous other committees.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.