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Macon-Bibb Elections on the Minds of Most Local Citizens

Charlotte Mays, Willie Moore, and Marcus Brookias

by Clarence Thomas, Jr.

Fasten your seat belts! It's going to be a wild ride the next few weeks if the race to be the winner following the May 24th elections is as heated as it has been.

A slew of non-partisan and Democratic seats are up for grabs. Here's whose running and against whom. For a spot around the Macon-Bibb County Commission table three incumbents will have to fend off challengers. Larry Schlesinger of District 2 is vying for a return against independent consultant Stanley P. Brown. Popular District 5 commissioner Bert Bivens is facing retired fireman and businessman Leroy Jarrell as veteran politician Ed DeFore of District 6 works to offset challengers Joe Allen, a former commissioner, and former Macon-Bibb Emergency Management director Donald Druitt.

On the education front, children's advocate Tina Dennard is looking to unseat longtime educator and former Bibb County School District board president Thelma Dillard in a race to be the school system's District 2 representative as District 6 representative Jason Downey fights to keep his place on the school board against business owner Bob Easter and insurance adjuster Valerie Wynn. In a three person race for the school board District 5 seat former Macon City Councilman James Timley, political activist and realtor Jerome Collins and neighborhood revitalization manager Sundra Woodford are mixing it up. And in a bid for the school systems 4th District seat entrepreneur Jeff Moody is looking to upend incumbent Lester Miller.

Veteran Macon Water Authority board member Javors Lucas is trying to hold off commercial driver Harold Franklin and stay on as the MWA representative for District 2. Former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis is working towards being the county's next Tax Commissioner, but has to get pass incumbent Wade McCord. Rounding out local races is a three-way competition between current Macon-Bibb County Sheriff David Davis, retired lawman Mike Smallwood and political new comer Tim Rivers. Sitting Mayor Robert Reichert will return again for a third time by default following political veteran, the late Lonzy Edwards having to drop out the mayoral race recently due to health related reasons before passing unexpectedly April 29th.

Outside of Macon the most hotly contested and engaging race has to be between former Senator of Dist. 26 Miriam Paris and political veteran Gerald Harvey. Both are vying for District 142 seat held by Macon's own Rep. Nikki Randall. Randall represented Dist.142 for 17 years, but in March she decided against running again. That left an opening for Paris, Harvey and Macon-Bibb blight buster and businessman Frank Austin to spar over the post. Austin was disqualified recently because of confusion concerning his home address, leaving Paris and Harvey to battle.

In addition to the numerous debates, endorsements and campaign stops taking place, awareness efforts have been a prolific part of this spring's political process. The most notable being an April 15 press conference at the Terminal Station held by Kwanzaa Cultural Access Center, the local League of Women's Voters and other organizations. In that news event KCAC president and co-founder George Muhammad along with LWV president Adah Roberts and concerned citizen Antonio Ross reminded voters that May 24th is election day, but that they could cast their votes beginning May 2-20th during early voting. In addition, viewers, readers and listeners of the press conference were reminded that the Terminal Station is a precinct as well now to provide a convenient location for those on the eastside and working and living in downtown.

With all this politically related activity taking place rarely is the man and woman in the street heard from. As a result, the Middle Georgia Informer took to the pavement recently during the annual Tubman Museum sponsored Pan African Festival and talked to three local citizens about what was on their minds concerning this year's elections. Here's what they had to say.

Willie Moore of Macon in respect to the date of May 24th said: "If the people are willing to vote I don't see a problem with the date, especially the people with no opposition because them there is no race. Voting early doesn't bother me because I’m still going to vote for who I'm going to vote for."

Charlotte Mays, an activity director with Medical Management Health and Rehab Center commented: "I don't have a problem with early voting. I think it gives you a chance to get out before crunch time and get your vote in. Either you want to vote or you don't." She added, "I think they need more voting polls, but get out and vote. If you don't vote, then you don't have a voice. Every vote counts."

Marcus Brookias, an 18-year-old registered voter at Howard High School commented that: "Everyone should have the right to vote. Young people especially need to get involved so that you can have an opinion on record when it counts."

There you have folks. In their words...and ours. See you at the polls! (wink)

For more information about voting contact the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections at 621-6622 or visit their offices at 2445 Pio Nono Avenue in Macon. Additional information about voting can be found at



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