I agree with Peanut Politics’ Keith McCants when he concluded that the House District 125 race is one of twenty Georgia House races to watch this fall.
The House District 125 race hasn’t received the type of headlines that the governor’s race has garnered. However, Democrats are in a position to turn this district ‘blue’.
Longtime Jones County CommissionerDavid Gaultrelinquished his position earlier this year, and decided to run for a seat in the Georgia State Legislature.
According to his campaign website, Gault offered why he decided to run for office.
“I qualified for election to serve this district in the Georgia Legislature because too many things have happened in State Government that really disturbed me during these last 4 years. Some of these more notable blunders include the state’s cancellation of the Homestead Exemption. This action has resulted in transferring a major portion of government service costs to the property owners of this state.”
Gault also cites “the dramatic cuts in education funding, which have all been blamed on the economic downturn” by the Republican-dominated General Assembly and their decisions to furlough teachers show ” the overall misdirection of the state’s funding priorities”.
District 125 is a four county area that includes most of Jones, half of Monroe, some of Lamar and all of Jasper County.
The largest cities in the district include majority African-American county seats such as Barnesville, Forsyth and Monticello.
Gault’s opponent will be former Republican mayor of Monticello, Susan Holmes.
Holmes has achieved acclaim as past president of the Georgia Municipal Association and other political titles via Sonny Perdue.
However, Jasper County’s Monticello News and the Macon Telegraph had reported on variety of events that involved mismanagement of funds dating back to 2004.
Back in February 2004, Wayne Crenshaw of the Macon Telegraph and News had written a story entitled Monticello faces ban on block grants.
Monticello, Jasper County’s largest city will definitely be a battleground in the House District 125 race and Gault has an opportunity to appeal to progressive and independent voters who may be frustrated with Holmes’ conservative leadership during her twelve-year tenure as mayor.
After Holmes left office, former two-term Monticello City Councilman Glenn Newsome was elected mayor in a November 2007 election.
Most of the financial problems that had existed during Holmes’ administration continued with Newsome.
In a story that garnered national headlines from CNN, the Monticello City Council voted 3-2 in February to disband the Monticello Police Department.
According to the Monticello News, Mayor Pro Tem Russell Gross made the motion to reduce the police department from 15 positions to five positions (four officers and one office staff) effective March 1, and to make the necessary layoffs in the order of seniority and to phase out the entire police department by July 1. The action came at a called meeting in February.
The motion was seconded by Councilwomen Katherine Alexander. The motion passed on a 3-2 vote with Councilman Bobby Jacobs, Mr. Gross and Mrs. Alexander voting in favor and Councilwoman Molly Pompey and Councilman Bryan Standifer voting against.
Juanita Davis, President of the local chapter of the NAACP told the Council they had dealt a great disservice to the community by disbanding the police force and that no consideration was given by them before taking this action.
Monticello may be Susan Holmes’ hometown and turf, but Jasper County is hurting right now economically and the phasing out of the local police department has some Monticello citizens trying to find new leadership.
David Gault has an opportunity to fill that leadership void in House District 125.