2017 Voter Guide: Henry County

4:50 p.m Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 Atlanta News
For the AJC
Stockbridge residents will vote for mayor in November.

We asked candidates running in next month’s city, school and municipal elections to explain why you should vote for them. In addition to asking them questions about their experience and their stand on prominent issues, we asked some candidates to tell us which television character with whom they most identify. See where candidates stand on important issues, and who has a lot in common with Batman. 

Hampton

Name: Steve E. Hutchison (i)

Name: Wayne Selman

Name: Shawn Black

Name: Stephanie G. Bodie

Age: 41

Residence: Southern States

Profession: Volunteer with many organizations

Stephanie G. Bodie

What experience will help you in office? I have volunteered for many years with various organizations. I have set budgets for PTO, Girl Scouts, and other groups I have worked with. I have planned events and trips a year in advance for multiple groups, arranged speakers for fundraisers and supported local Veterans. I absolutely love to serve people and I enjoy being involved in my community. I cannot think of a better way to serve the citizens of Hampton than being their Councilwoman.

What issue got you into this race? I've often heard that citizens contact their elected officials with problems and get no response. I do not like when citizens are treated like their opinions do not matter. I really feel called to be the voice that listens to ALL citizens concerns and finds ways to remedy those concerns.

Which current television character do you identify most with? I guess a current character that I identify with is Leah Remini in Kevin Can Wait. She’s not afraid to step in and help in different situations. And, for better or for worse, I also identify with her wit and sarcasm.

Name: Charles Hearn (i)

Name: Marty Meeks (i)

Age: 59

Residence: 110 East Main St. N

Profession: Small business owner

Marty Meeks

What experience will help you in office? A Hampton native, I have been a successful small local business owner and employer for over 35 years. Prior to that I was a Hampton Police Officer. I am familiar with logistical demands and the necessity for structure. My Mother lives here as do several of my grandchildren; this keeps me aware of the needs of their age groups. Being an incumbent also gives advantages with experience.

What issue got you into this race? My love for my hometown and the desire to see that Hampton remains Hampton. Change and adjustments come, we should meet needs while making the decisions that protect the lifestyle that keeps us residents of our wonderful City. Many achievements have been made by our Council along with our businesses and residents. Growth doesn't always bring progress; stagnation and regression can be damaging. Inclusive representation, transparency and effective communication are important.

Which current television character do you identify most with? When I have the opportunity to watch television it is usually informational, movies or older programs. I don't have enough information on current characters to answer.

Name: Errol Mitchell

Name: Edward T. Spencer

Age: 59

Residence: Downtown Hampton

Profession: District Manager, Waffle House Inc.

Edward T. Spencer

What experience will help you in office? I could sum this up in one word, DIPLOMACY. If I am anything, I am diplomatic. Shouldn’t that be the most important characteristic of an officer? To better define my answer. I believe diplomacy sets leaders apart from those who follow, and it should be an inherent characteristic of those responsible for making important and vital decisions for others. Leaders must be able to remove all prejudice in order to make the best decision for the people they serve.

What issue got you into this race? First, and foremost, I have decided to make Hampton my home, thus having a vested interest. Second, after settling in to this community I had an opportunity to see its potential. I believe Hampton could be well on its way to being a benchmark community for many new and exciting ventures. That being said, I still firmly believe it should be growth that makes sense for the community as a whole. Hampton can, and should be a destination spot, as well as, a coveted place for people to live. I think new eyes with fresh ideas are in order to...[edited for length]

Which current television character do you identify most with? This is a tough one. I’m not sure I can narrow it down to one. I would say I am part Hugh Laurie, {HOUSE), intellectual humor without the addiction and/or the snarky attitude. Part Mel Gibson as {William Wallace} only because I’m a fight for the underdog, freedom and rights of others kind of guy. William Shatner, aka (Captain Kirk) I take my role as a leader very serious, taking responsibility whether right or wrong is vital in the role of leadership. Lastly, part comedian (fill-in-the-blank) because I have a great sense of humor.

Name: Willie Turner

Name: Alford A. Williams

Age: 53

Residence: South Hampton

Profession: US Army VET Retired

Alford A. Williams

What experience will help you in office? My 27 years of service, experience, problem solving skills and ability to work with various opinions to come together for a positive results for our community.

What issue got you into this race? The first issue Hampton city lack of sound tested city planning with targeted benchmarks in order to track accomplishment, waste and duplication of funding. 

The second issue facing Hampton is that there is no plan to invest in our youth, senior citizens and working families.

Which current television character do you identify most with? Greatest American Hero

Name: Timothy Leshunn Branch

Age: 41

Residence: Downtown

Profession: Route Salesman

What experience will help you in office? I've been working in retail and sales management for over 20 years. With that it has allowed me to meet and talk to a variety of people and with my management experience it will help me make decisions as well. I've coached multiple sports for several years and assisted with various events through out the years in Hampton and surrounding areas.

What issue got you into this race? I'm a big supporter of local businesses and I want to help them with contious growth. My passion is for all but I really want to help encourage programs for the youth of our city. I'm looking into outreach programs and hearing what they have to say and what they would like the city to do.

Which current television character do you identify most with? I think I can identity the most with is the character Phil Dunphy from Modern Family. He's a big kid at heart, loving husband, and at the end of the day his family is everything to him. If you know me you know I'm not afraid to play soccer or basketball with the kids. There's always a dance battle at my house. My family means everything to me we've lived in Hampton/Georgia for over 15 years and I love this city and all the people that live here!

Name: Elton Brown

Age: 52

Residence: Bridgeport

Profession: Retired

Elton Brown

What experience will help you in office? My leadership and negotiating skills from over twenty nine years in the US Army. I am able to multi-task and make sound decisions that best serves the city as a hole, not any particular group of people.

What issue got you into this race? The rising cost of utilities and the growing need to provide a mentoring program for the youth in Hampton are the main reasons for me joining the race for City Council.

Which current television character do you identify most with? I believe I identify with the dad on the sitcom "The Middle". Takes things in stride for the most part but will get involved whet the situation warrants intervention. Don't allow trivial things fluster me.

Name: Mary Ann Mitcham

Age: 72

Residence: Shelby Street

Profession: Retired

Mary Ann Mitcham

What experience will help you in office? I served 12 years on Henry County Board of Education and finishing my 12th year on Hampton City Council

What issue got you into this race? City was polarized. Wanted to help and "make a difference"

Which current television character do you identify most with? Miss Marple

Locust Grove

Name: Keith Boone (i)

Age: 58

Residence: Locust Grove

Profession: Retired from Department of Defense

Keith Boone

What experience will help you in office? I've been on city council for a total of 25 years and I think that gives me experience. I work well with the city and the council and the state and federal governments.

What issue got you into this race? I still think I have a lot to contribute to the city and the citizens. We're growing and we have some transportation issues that we're addressing as far as road projects that I'd like to see us continue to push forward.

Which current television character do you identify most with? Larry the Cable Guy and Andy Griffith

Name: Rudy Breedlove

Age: 34

Residence: Barnes Station

Profession: Realtor

Rudy Breedlove

What experience will help you in office? I have twelve years of previous employment with the City of Locust Grove. The city’s daily working knowledge is an advantage. I know daily operations are left to the employees. However, policies the Council provides can help or hinder the process. This helps me listen to our employees and understand their needs. As a Realtor, I have knowledge of our housing and commercial markets. This allows me to make educated decisions when zoning issues arise.

What issue got you into this race? Our biggest issue is how our city will look years from now. Growth needs to be done in such a way we don’t give up great results to meet short term desires. We are seeing high density housing and commercial developments being slapped up for the sake of growth with little consideration of what happens in the future. We need to see better housing options, higher quality restaurants and more support for local businesses.

Which current television character do you identify most with? James P. Sullivan "Sulley"-Monsters Inc.

Sulley is nice, outgoing, brave, intelligent, selfless, humble, level-headed, confident, caring and very loyal. He is popular among his peers and ready to take on any task. 

Name: David Brown

Name: Sammy Brown (i)

Name: John R. Gardner

Age: 64

Residence: Locust Grove

Profession: Retired - FAA/TSA

What experience will help you in office? After graduating from Jacksonville State University with a B. S. Degree in Law Enforcement, I worked with City, County, State and Federal agencies.I worked with the City of Locust Grove and Henry County Police Departments as a Police Officer. I worked with the Georgia Department of Corrections as a Probation Officer. I retired from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) after 911, as a Federal Air Marshall, Airport Security Inspector and Air Cargo Security Specialist after 24 years of service. I was required to maintain a keen awareness of Security Directives and Emergency Amendments in...[edited for length]

What issue got you into this race? I love Locust Grove. My family has lived in Locust Grove for many generations. I am now retired and have the time to devote to the council seat. There are many issues we must face, two of which are crime and traffic congestion. I want to try to help resolve these issues and if elected, would be proud to serve.

Which current television character do you identify most with? I do not watch much television but occasionally I will catch an episode of NCIS because my wife watches, however if I had to choose I would say I identify most with a combination of Leroy Jethro Gibbs (experienced and seasoned) and Sheriff Andy Taylor (his servant leadership example and heart for his community is classic and timeless).

Name: Nathan C. Harrison

Age: 50

Residence: Barnes Station

Profession: Program Manager

Nathan C. Harrison

What experience will help you in office? 28 years as a program manager responsible for multimillion dollar projects and effectively leading diversified project teams through teamwork and clear communication to successful implementation. My strength is listening to team members, finding the best path forward, reaching consensus, and successfully implement the strategy. Communication and listening are critical in my job and I believe it is also critical in city government. The voters have spoken and it's time for the government officials to listen.

What issue got you into this race? During interviews with voters, it became clear that leadership in how the City grows and deals with current and future traffic congestion is the number 1 issue voters mind. I agree and felt a fresh perspective in the City Council is required to effectively carry out what the voters are demanding.

Which current television character do you identify most with? Captain Picard from Star Trek The Next Generation is an effective leader who listens to all points of view before making a decision and leading his team toward the goals that are presented. My style of management is very similar and therefore, I can easily relate to this television character.

Name: Willie Taylor (i)

Name: Billy Copeland (i)

Name: Annette Rayner

Age: 57

Residence: 37 Lincoln Road McDonough 30253

Profession: Supervisor over the following areas: catalog sales manager, shipping manager, logistics clerk, customer service to the military staff of AAFES, International Fed Ex Express, United States Post Office-Registered mail, UPS Grounds (30 years of service) 

Annette Rayner

What experience will help you in office? The experience that will help me in office is: public speaking, community concerns, Handbook for Georgia Mayors and Councilmembers, economic development, public safety, County Government (Frank J. Coppa), daily responsibilities, high expectations, public accountability and accessibility

What issue got you into this race? The issues that got me into this race were unseen results, which were not fulfilled in certain communities. It is time to take action upon what has been promised, and what will be promised to the people of our city.

Which current television character do you identify most with? I can only tell you the truth. Tyler Perry’s Mable Simmons (Madea) “I Keeps It Real.)

Name: Rufus F. "Sugar" Amis

Name: Roger Pruitt (i)

Age: 70

Residence: Parker Road

Profession: Retired GDOT Information Technology

What experience will help you in office? It has been my honor to serve as your “At Large” Council Member for the City of McDonough. In the past 4 years, together, we have accomplished much. I would like to do more but need your VOTE to accomplish that. McDonough needs a stable, unified council with your interests as a primary objective. I promise, with YOUR VOTE, I will continue to put YOU first. I will work diligently. I will always listen to you. I will always vote in your best interest. VOTE to Reelect Roger Pruitt as your City Council Member at Large.

My Platform will continue as follows:...[edited for length]

What issue got you into this race? The things that motivated me to run four years ago are still the same. “Your quality of life matters to me”. If re-elected my priorities will include fiscal responsibility, prudent decisions regarding spending, finding ways to reduce property taxes, street/sidewalk improvements and supporting economic development, a litter ordinance that works. I believe McDonough’s future is extremely bright and full of opportunity for all citizens. However, there is still much work to do and I look forward to serving four more years to make our citizens happy to call McDonough “home”. 

Which current television character do you identify most with? None

Name: Rufus L. Stewart (i)

Name: Mike Crawford

Age: 51

Residence: District 2

Profession: Business Development Manager

Mike Crawford

What experience will help you in office? Mike Crawford previously served District 2 on the McDonough City Council from 1999-2005 and was able to learn and benefit from the many combined years of experience of the other council members. During his tenure, he served as Chairman to every department within the city and was the liaison to the Mayor and Council for the McDonough Youth Association. He served on the City Hall Building Committee, assisted in the development of the McDonough GRTA XPRESS Park-n-Ride, and many other decisions that have made McDonough a great place to live, work, stay and play. He would like to take his...[edited for length]

What issue got you into this race? Mike wants to see McDonough’s economic growth to include a sustainable downtown plan. He will listen to people’s perspective, seek a prosperous economic environment plan for our City, work to generate a Master Parks and Recreation plan, and work to continue to implement ideas that help manage our transportation corridors.

Which current television character do you identify most with? Mr. Ed - because he only talked when he needed to! Individual commitment to a group effort -- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. Coach Vince Lombardi

Name: Sandra Vincent (i)

Age: 55

Residence: McDonough

Profession: Project Officer

Sandra Vincent

What experience will help you in office? I have been working in or for government for 25+ years. In varying capacities I've worked as a congressional liaison, program manager for housing, community, and Economic Development, legislative liaison, council woman for twelve years, and project officer for ten.

Each of these roles has afforded me the critical skills needed to be an effective leader in local government. 

Knowledge of how all facets of government works, internal and external, is an essential skill set. I possess the knowledge, experience, and relationships needed to make the City of McDonough sustainable, and uniquely competitive within the region.

What issue got you into this race? In short, rapid growth, and poor planning. I entered service at a time when the concept of concurrent planning, and smart growth were foreign terms and the principles virtually unknown and unexplored.

Because of my background I knew that in order for McDonough to survive the rapid growth demands there had to be policies in place to ensure quality neighborhoods.

There had been too many developments governed by flawed development agreements. Agreements which hurt many of citizens. Communities with more than 200 high density homes constructed with no HOA, and no amenities.

This was the norm for McDonough before I became a member...[edited for length]

Which current television character do you identify most with? I don't watch television, except for in occassion. I understand that there is a new Macgyver series airing so I'll have to say Macgyver.

Government is full of complex problems which often times requires innovation, collaboration, creativity, and flat out making a way out of no way. I'm good at that, and I bring all of those tools to every problem encountered.

Stockbridge

Name: Tony Brown

Residence: n/a

Profession: USAF Veteran - Military Officer Consultant

Tony Brown

What experience will help you in office? I've served my country for over 20 years Honorably and now I'm ready to serve the Citizens of Stockbridge.

As Mayor of Stockbridge, I will bring sound dynamic leadership to the citizens; our stakeholders. With my background or track record, will afford me the opportunity to bring all the city council members together, to work for the common good and the betterment of our city. Simply put or in addition too ethical behavior, and transparency in government; thus, making it my number one priority. "It's all about the citizen's and their interest," therefore my campaign platform is Citizens FIRST!

What issue got you into this race? Simply put or in addition too ethical behavior, and transparency in government; thus, making it my number one priority. "It's all about the citizen's and their interest," therefore my campaign platform is Citizens FIRST!

Causes Tony Brown cares about:

Animal Welfare

Arts and Culture (our History of MLK Sr,)

Children

Civil Rights and Social Action

Economic Empowerment

Education

Environment

Health

Human Rights

Disaster and Humanitarian Relief

Poverty Alleviation and Business Development

Public Safety

Science and Technology

Which current television character do you identify most with? n/a

Name: Anthony S. Ford

Name: Lakeisha Gantt (i)

Name: Cherice Hollis

Name: David W. Le'Gall, Sr.

Name: Alphonso Thomas

Age: 68

Residence: Historic Stockbridge Community

Profession: Retired

Picasa 3.0
Alphonso Thomas

What experience will help you in office? My experience spans over 35 years as both a public servant and public official. I was elected to the Stockbridge city council in 2011 and also served 2 years as Mayor pro-tem. As a member of the city council, I sponsored and supported various legislative polices that enhanced the efficiency of city operation and polices that impacted the quality of life for citizens of Stockbridge. During my tenure as an elected official, I earned over 120 classroom hours of training from the Georgia Municipal Association and the Robert E. Knox Leadership Institute and was awarded the certificate of Excellence...[edited for length]

What issue got you into this race? The biggest issue facing the city of Stockbridge is the uncertainty of the deannexation of Eagles Landing. This will have an adverse impact on the city's financial outlook for the future. The proposed new city of Eagles Landing would deannex 3,136 parcels from the city of Stockbridge.

(GA. Senate Bills - 262 and 263 introduced by state Senator Rick Jeffares R - McDonough - District 17)

SB-262 will change the Stockbridge Map by subtracting properties.

I will also sponsor legislative policies to stimulate economic development and revitalization of the downtown business district.

Which current television character do you identify most with? N/A

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