Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Candidate For Watkinsville City Council Race Withdraws From Campaign

***Leaving Two For Post 2***

Jennifer Gude, one of three candidates who qualified to run for Post 2 on the Watkinsville City Council, turned in paperwork on Tuesday withdrawing from the contest.

Gude had announced at a Meet and Greet for Watkinsville city candidates on Sunday that she had decided not to continue her campaign for family reasons.

Twenty people turned out at the event on Sunday, sponsored by the Oconee County Democratic Committee and held at the Oconee County Library in Watkinsville.

Post 2 candidates Wade LaFontaine and Connie Massie attended, made introductory comments, and responded to questions from the audience.

No Contest

The Oconee County Democrats also had invited Post 1 Council candidate Brian Brodrick and Mayoral candidate Dave Shearon to participate in the Meet and Greet, though neither has opposition in the Nov. 7 election.

Brodrick’s and Shearon’s names will appear on the ballot, and both accepted the invitation to meet with interested voters on Sunday.

Shearon, 5 Hardin Hill Road, is owner of Ashford Manor on Main Street in Watkinsville.

Brian Brodrick, 117 South Main Street, currently holds Post 1 on the Council. He is a marketing communication specialist with Jackson Spalding in Athens.

Massey And LaFontaine

Massey, 2 Second Street, is the current mayor of Watkinsville, having moved from the Post 2 seat when Charles Ivie resigned last month as mayor due to illness.

Massey said Watkinsville “has been a wonderful city to live in” and her goal is “to keep the infrastructure running as good as we can, keep the city clean, and keep all our shops full.”

She is a picture framer at Athens Art and Frame at 1021 Parkway Boulevard off Epps Bridge Parkway.

Wade LaFontaine, 25 South Barnett Shoals Road, said he was impressed with the citizens of Watkinsville and the community spirit.

He is senior assistant director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Georgia and said he would bring the communication skills he has learned on that job to his work were he elected to the Council.

Brodrick And Shearon

Brodrick said his goal for Watkinsville “is to have the best small town in the state of Georgia.”

To do that, he said, the city needs options in terms of housing, greenspace and the arts, and a good business climate.

Shearon introduced himself by telling what brought him to Watkinsville 20 years from an advertising job in Chicago.

It is a long and entertaining story, but he said the attractiveness of the city included the weather, the business opportunities, the existence of an art community, and the attractiveness of the Ashford property.

It also included a realization that he needed “to find a job, a life where I’m going to live longer. Twenty years in the advertising business takes its toll.”

Gude Comments

Former Oconee County Democratic Committee Chair Margaret Holt hosted the event on Sunday, and she introduced Gude as the program began.

Gude said she realized that the election and actually serving on council “was going to take more time from my family than I was ready to give up right now.”

She said she has an almost two-year-old son and, while her husband has been supportive “I need to be at home with my little guy until he gets a little bit older.”

Pat Hayes, chair of the Board of Elections and Registration, told me on Monday it would be possible for her to remove Gude's name from the ballot once the withdrawal request had been received.

Hayes sent me an email message on Tuesday indicating that Gude had turned in the paperwork withdrawing from the election.


I attended the Meet and Greet and recorded a video of the entire session.

I had anticipated a more informal format and did not bring a tripod.

Consequently, the video is unstable at times. For that I apologize.

Gude began her comments at 2:30 in the video.

Massey’s comments begin at 3:50.

Brodrick’s comments begin at 9:40 in the video.

LaFontaine started his comments at 18:55.

Shearon began speaking at 28:20 in the video.

OCO: Watkinsville Candidate Meet And Greet 9 24 2017 from Lee Becker on Vimeo.

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