LEESBURG, Ga. -- Tim Nelson, a state probation officer, says he was forced into seeking the District 4 post on the Lee County Commission as an independent because he is not a Democrat or a Republican.
Because of that, however, Nelson said Lee voters in the district have a rare opportunity to decide the race in the general election and not, as usual, in the primary.
Occupation: State probation officer
Post Sought: District 4, Lee County Commission
Family: No family in the area
Key Issues: Cost cutting in the operation of county government, including outsourcing for county services. Eliminate what he perceives as a double standard between commissioners and the public. Open, transparent government.
"They call it a fair ballot access law, but I am the only one that has to go out and get signatures to get my name on the ballot," Nelson said. "If I run as a Republican or Democrat, I don't have to do that. That is a hurdle and why independents don't usually run.
"I am doing it the right way, and I hope people respect that choice instead of me running as a Democrat or Republican when I really don't believe in that."
Nelson will be opposing incumbent Rick Muggridge for the commission seat. Muggridge is a Republican and serves as vice chairman of the commission.
To read about Tim Nelson's opponent, Rick Muggridge, click here.
"Rick has always been a nice guy, but in my mind he is not a Republican," Nelson said. "Every time you turn around, he is spending money.
"He says he is not raising the millage rate, but they raise the fees on garbage collection and on water. They call them fees, but they are taxes."
Nelson said Lee County has always benefited from people relocating from Dougherty County. That can be a problem, he believes.
"I want people to be able to come to Lee County and to live here and work here and be able to retire here," he said. "We need to grow Lee County, but we don't need to keep up with the services of Albany.
"People are running from Albany because of the high taxes, and they are demanding that Lee County put in the same services that caused the high taxes. People have to decide if they want the low taxes and lifestyle of Lee County or the big-city lifestyle of Albany."
Nelson said he believes outsourcing services could save Lee County a considerable amount of money.
A frequent visitor and speaker at County Commission meetings, Nelson attempted unsuccessfully to get the commission to place the Sunday sale of liquor in Lee County on the ballot. No action was taken on his proposal.
Nelson also battled the commission and county staffers on the sign ordinance, especially during the T-SPLOST campaign.
"The biggest thing in my fight with the county is about a double standard for the county versus the citizens," Nelson said. "I saw the county was allowing construction companies to put up a pro T-SPLOST sign, which was very clearly against the county's policy."
Nelson said his major effort, if elected, will be to reduce spending.
"I know we have to have taxes to run our infrastructure," he said. "But I constantly go to meetings and see our Road Department complaining about not being able to maintain the roads they have now, so building new ones makes no sense to me.
"We need to cut spending or we'll never be able to cut taxes. If we don't have the money, don't float a loan. Learn to cut the budget like every family in this county has."