All three candidates for the special election on Nov. 8 to fill Post 2 on the Oconee County Board of Commissioners have agreed to participate in an election forum set for 7 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 15 at the Community Center in Veterans Park.
Oconee County School Superintendent Dr. Jason Branch also has agreed to answer questions on the district’s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education question, which also will be on the ballot in November.
By law, Branch is not allowed to advocate for the tax, but he can outline the purpose of the tax request approved by the Board of Education and answer questions about the uses that will be made of the projected $45 million in revenue from the tax over its five-year life-span.
Invitations also are being extended to those who wish to advocate for or against the two referenda on the ballot to allow Sunday sales in groceries and convenience stores and in restaurants.
Sarah Bell, Russ Page and I are organizing the forum. We have held candidate forums in the past.
Citizens will have the opportunity to pose their questions directly to the candidates, to Dr. Branch, and to the other participants in the forum.
BOC candidates Ben Bridges, Chuck Horton and Marcus Wiedower will have an opportunity to make introductory comments before fielding questions.
We plan to video record the event and make it available for subsequent viewing on the Oconee County Observations Vimeo site.
The event itself is open to the public, and all are encouraged to attend.
Election Heating Up
So far, no group has come out for or against the SPLOST for Education question or for or against the two Sunday sales referenda.
|Candidates On Web|
Signs for the BOC candidates, however, now appear around the county.
Bridges, Horton and Wiedower are all running as Republicans in the special election to fill the spot left vacant in March when John Daniell resigned from the Post II position to run for the BOC Chair position.
Daniell was unopposed in the May 24 Republican primary and will be unopposed on the Nov. 8 ballot.
(A video interview with Daniell about his plans when he assumes the chair position in January is in the right-hand column of this blog.)
Wiedower also has a Facebook page and is on LinkedIn.
Horton has a campaign Facebook page as well.
Bridges’ personal Facebook page contains a post from today saying a campaign Facebook page will be up this week.
Financial Disclosure Bridges
All three candidates filed Notice of Candidacy Affidavits and Personal Finance Disclosure Statements when they qualified earlier this month.
Bridges, 50, lists his occupation as project manager at Pilgrim’s, a chicken producer in Athens.
He lives at 1450 Robinhood Road in Northwest Woods subdivision. He says he has lived in Oconee County all his life.
Bridges says he does not own any business and that neither he nor his spouse own any property with a value of more than $5,000. His wife in an office manager at Country Financial on Hog Mountain Road just east of Butler’s Crossing.
Financial Disclosure Wiedower
Wiedower, 40, lists his occupation as project manager. He has lived in Georgia for 33 years and in Oconee County for 10 years. His address is 1081 Princeton Lane just outside of Watkinsville.
On his financial disclosure form Wiedower says he has ownership interest of more than 5 percent in three construction companies.
He says he is president and project manager of Blueprint Builders, 3BH Inc., and Bulldawg Builders, all at 8771 Macon Highway, Suite D.
He indicates he does not own any property and that his wife owns his residence, valued at more than $200,000. His wife is a registered nurse.
Wiedower lists two contributions of $1,000 each, one from Larry Benson of Benson’s Inc. of Bogart and the other from John Hadden, an electrician.
Financial Disclosure Horton
Loyd Spencer “Chuck” Horton III, 61, lists his occupation as parking director for Athens-Clarke County. He has lived in Georgia all his life and in Oconee County for 36 years.
Horton’s address is 1061 Ramblewood Place in Hickory Hill subdivision, outside Watkinsville.
Horton says he owns no businesses.
In addition to his residence, valued at more than $200,000, he and his wife own a vacation home in Hart County, also valued at more than $200,000.
His wife is a retired college administrator.
Registration and Early Voting
Voter registration ends on Oct. 11.
Early voting starts on Oct. 17.
If none of the three candidates gets a majority on Nov. 8, a runoff between the two top candidates will be held on Dec. 6.