TIFTON -- Three more candidates qualified for the Tift County Commission seat being vacated by Ed Moore before qualifying ended at noon Friday. Also, another candidate qualified to run in the Democratic Primary for the District 3 seat.
Alan McAllister and Don Gerald Sumner joined fellow Republican candidate John Moody Huggins for the District 4 seat. Ralph P. Miller qualified to face Kenneth Eugene Brownlee in the Democratic primary.
McAllister, Lead Area Forestry Teacher with the Georgia Department of Education and a consulting forester under the company name of McAllister and Associates, said Friday that he believes his background in agriculture and forestry will serve him well should he win the election.
"My background and my leadership experience definitely make me the best candidate for this part of the county," McAllister said.
McAllister credits his three years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an officer for developing his "management skills early in my career."
McAllister is also the owner of a 150-acre farm with approximately 20,000 pounds of peanuts currently under the buyout program.
"I am active in the management of approximately 120 acres of timber on this farm," McAllister said.
McAllister said he plans to meet with a campaign team and develop a detailed platform as soon as possible and get his campaign in full swing by July 5.
"I plan to continue the good work started by Ed Moore," McAllister said.
McAllister said he holds a master's degree in Forestry, an Educational Specialist degree in Agricultural Education and a Doctorate in Vocational Educaiton from the University of Georgia. He also worked as a procurement forester for the Georgia Pacific Corporation and left that position to teach forestry at ABAC for nine years. He then was a Agricultural Education teacher in Turner County for nine years.
McAllister is married to Janet Davis McAllister. The couple has two sons and a daughter.
Brookfield resident Don Gerald Sumner is bidding for the seat for the second time after running four years ago. Sumner is a supervisor in the Tool and Dye Division of Kelly Manufacturing Company in Tifton and serves as a volunteer firefighter with the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department.
Sumner said he thinks having multiple candidates for the District 4 seat is healthy.
"I have been going to commission meetings for over eight years," Sumner said. "I feel like we need someone there that will listen to the general public from their district and go and vote for the people they represent. They voted for you so you should represent them."
Sumner said his philosophy is that "you can't spend what you haven't got."
Sumner is married to Linda Vickers Sumner and the couple has four children and four grandchildren.
Miller, a Tift County resident for 15 years since relocating with Wal Mart, said the experience of managing 350 employees will serve him well on the commission.
"I have been in business for myself for 10 years," Miller said. "This is home to us and I feel like I can contribute."
Miller said he oversees Miller Hardware, Manufactured Partners, Miller Built Trailers, Miller Rental and is a general contractor.
"I have the experience of running a large business and our county is a large business," Miller said. "We need people who understand large business and budgets and payroll and how to look at expense control. I think I can put my knowledge to work in the county and be as beneficial to the county as I have been to myself."
Miller is married to Lynn Miller and the couple has three sons and two grandchildren.
Randy Willis qualified to run in the Democratic Primary for the District 4 seat against incumbent Margaret Carter and challenger J.R. Rowe.
Willis, a Georgia Department of Transportation Assistant Area Engineer in the construction division, said his experience in the department will benefit him in a seat on the commission.
"I feel like with the D.O.T. experience, I would have a lot to contribute as far as road building and road maintenance," Willis said.
plans to retire in August after over 32 years with the D.O.T. He said he "would like to see a lot of the roads on the books for many years paved.
"I want to get a list of the priority list of the roads and we would have to take a look at the budget and cut other things," Willis said. "I think there is money there, but it is not being utilized in the proper way. The state of Alabama, I don't believe they have any dirt roads."
"I would like to work for the people of Tift County since I have been working for the people of Georgia for so long," Willis said. "In the long run, some of my ideas would be cost-saving."
Willis and his wife Joyce Mussellwhite Willis have one daughter and one son.
John W. Smith qualified to run for the Board of Education District 2 seat currently held by Leona Mott, who did not qualify to run again. Incumbents Richard Golden (District 4) Tommy Fresh (District 5), and Scott Shiver (District 6) qualified to seek reelection. Also, Larry Mims will seek to retain his spot as the State Court Judge in August when he runs against challenger David Bryan, a Tifton attorney.
On the state level, Tifton's Austin Scott will have no opposition for the House 138 seat and will return to Atlanta for a fourth term. Penny Houston is also unopposed for her House 139 seat while Newt Hudson, the incumbent in District 131, will face opposition in November from Ocilla's Jay Roberts.
Rooney Bowen, the incumbent in Senate District 13, will meet the winner of the August Republican primary race between Kerry Clabaugh of Sylvester and Carden Summers of Cordele. Also in the state Senate, Peg Blitch will face opposition for her District 7 seat against Waycross real estate agent Dennis O'Connor.
Another state race featuring a local official is the Public Service Commission District 1 race. Sylvester's Earleen Sizemore was recently appointed to the position by Gov. Roy Barnes. Sizemore, a Democrat, will face opposition from the Republican side as Albany's Doug Everett and Statesboro's B. Ray Atkins meet in the primary.
In U.S. races, incumbent U.S. senator Max Cleland will meet the winner of the Republican primary featuring Saxby Chambliss, Bob Irvin and Bob Brown, Jr. For the U.S. House District 2 seat, incumbent Sanford Bishop faces no opposition
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