Voters keep incumbents in Dougherty, Lee

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

Incumbent Dennis Roland will be keeping his District 1 (Smithville/Chokee) seat on the Lee County Commission, unofficials results show.

Meanwhile, two incumbent officials in District 2 of Dougherty County -- County Commissioner John Hayes and School Board member Milton "June Bug" Griffin -- also are headed back for new terms of office in January.

According to voting results from the Lee County Board of Elections and Registration, Roland was leading the race with 857 votes to independent challenger Mary Egler's 361 with all 10 precincts reporting.

Roland said Tuesday that he looked forward to his second term on the commission and would continue to represent the people of his district.

"I will continue to work for the people and do what is in the best interest of the county," the Republican commissioner said. "I also want to say a word of thanks (to Egler) for her wanting to run for public service and for running a clean race."

Roland said his main goal for this term will be to continue to find ways to reduce the operating costs of the county.

Egler echoed Roland's sentiment about the two running a "nothing personal" race.

"There has been no mud-slinging, trash-talking or fighting," she said. "I think it was just about politics and too often people attack each other and I feel like neither one of us did that."

Egler said she hopes the race highlighted the needs of the Smithville/Chokee area.

"I think we got the point across that the Northern part of town is being left out and maybe this election has got things stirred up and hopefully the citizens will now know (the issues and become involved.)"

In the Dougherty County Commission District 2 race, incumbent Democrat John Hayes easily won another term with a 3,497 votes to Republican challenger Lonnie Smith's 499 votes in complete unofficial results.

Hayes said he was "elated" that the election was over and encouraged by the voter's support for his re-election.

"It's about service and I've tried to work hard at what I have done and I want to thank the people who voted for me," Hayes said. "We worked hard this year and we were on a shoe-string budget. We didn't have the money we had five years ago but it worked out and I'm elated (by the results)."

Smith said in a prepared statement: "At this time of recession and high unemployment the Second District of Dougherty County voted to raise taxes and spending. This will impact all on fixed incomes, such as Social Security, entitlement and unemployment benefits. Our utility prices are increasing, while the value of the dollar is decreasing.

"Food is scheduled to go up in price by 14 percent during the next few months. Healthcare costs will jump dramatically and small businesses will be adversely affected by the loss of Bush-era tax cuts. All of these combined will continue to be a drain on the people of the Second District. I hope that the newly elected to our local government can have an impact and help guide us through these troubling times. I wish to thank my supporters and campaign workers for all their efforts. Campaigning has taken a lot of effort and I look forward to a bit of rest. Again, thank you."

Milton "Junebug" Griffin, who was elected to another term on the Dougherty County School Board Tuesday, said he was encouraged by the number of voters he saw at the polls.

Democrat Griffin won the race with 3,394 votes to Republican challenger Donnie Smith's 635 in complete unofficial totals.

"I want to thank the supporters for coming out and they came out in record numbers," Griffin said. "I want to continue the work that I have started and I will keep trying to do exactly what (the people) ask of me. Sometimes it doesn't work out, but they know I will address their issues."

Like her husbnd in the County Commission race, Donnie Smith had a prepared statement:

"I offered a change to the School Board and school system and the people of my district have voted to keep the same dysfunctional board and failing school system.

"It has been an interesting experience running for public office. I gained considerable insight into the workings of the government. I met interesting people and many who expressed grave concern for the future of their children and for the Dougherty County School System. I thank all the people who assisted me financially, phoning voters and campaigning door-to-door."