TIFTON -- Campaigning for political office has been a "new experience," county commission chairman candidate Grady Thompson said Friday. Thompson, the chairman of the state Well Water Standards Board, also serves as the district supervisor of soil conservation for Tift County but has never sought an elective post before.

"I've been getting to know a lot more people and hearing about the needs of the people," Thompson said. "The biggest thing people keep talking about is the taxes. We need to do everything we can to hold taxes down."

Thompson said property re-evaluations followed by an increase in taxes have hit local residents hard. "Everybody tells me we don't need to build any more buildings, and they can't understand why the city and the county can't do things together even more than they do," he said.

"And one other thing I keep hearing is why can't we resurface more roads. We can build buildings but we can't resurface the roads."

The county government needs to get "lean and mean" to hold costs down, Thompson said. "(County Manager) Bill Park has already started looking for areas where we can save money, and he's found several things that we were paying too much for," he said.

"I've been impressed with Bill Park and some of the things he's been doing to streamline the county, and I've been impressed that he and Charlie Howell are able to work together. We're going to be able to get along and get the city and county together, and there are a lot of policy things that we see that can be done."

Thompson, a Tift County native who owns a regional well and pump service, will be Tift County's first Republican commission chairman if elected. A graduate of Tift County High School and Abraham Baldwin College, he farms in Tift, Berrien and Worth counties.

"The way I would fit best into the overall scheme of things is that I've been running a business for 30 years," said Thompson. "I've made some tough decisions. I've made payroll. Just knowing what is going on and being really conservative would be my contribution to the board."



To contact city editor Florence Rankin, call 382-4321, ext. 209.

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