The Union Recorder

Election 2012

June 13, 2012

A closer look at the candidates

Profiles of the candidates vying for offices in the July 31 primary races and the November general election.

Paul Broun - U.S. Representative, 10th District

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, is seeking another term in the United States Congress. Since taking office during a special election in 2007, the medical doctor from Athens has been a vocal supporter of constitutionally limited government decrying waste and what he sees as an over-abundance of government regulation.
Broun grew up in Athens the son of a state senator and served the U.S. military as a jet engine mechanic in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. He was a commissioned medical officer in the U.S. Navy. Following his military service, Broun established himself as a general practitioner and later established a house-call only medical practice.
Broun went to Washington to complete the term left open by the death of Congressman Charlie Norwood and has consistently championed conservative causes. He advocates for the elimination of agencies he sees as superfluous and of strengthening the second amendment guaranteed right to bear arms. Broun also advocates repealing the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in 2010 offering the OPTION Act in response.
Broun serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and is chairman, subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. He is also a member of the subcommittee on Energy and Environment.
He is a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and serves as vice chairman on the subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment. He is a member of the subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism.
He serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources and is a member of the subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands as well as the subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.
He has been married to his wife Niki since 1985 and has three children.
Broun is running to retain his seat in the newly configured 10th Congressional District in the 2012 Republican primary set for Tuesday, July 31. He is challenged by Milledgeville native Stephen K. Simpson.

Stephen K. Simpson - U.S. Representative, 10th District

Stephen K. Simpson graduated from Georgia Military College and went on to earn degrees from Georgia College and Mercer University. He spent a 20-year career in the U.S. Army eventually working in The Pentagon in the Defense Intelligence Agency and later with the Secretary of the Army as a Congressional Liaison with the rank of Lt. Col. Working in that capacity, Simpson became familiar with the federal budget process, serving in a key role in the annual development of the Army's portion of the Defense Authorization Bill.
Throughout his military service, the Simpson family called Milledgeville home.
Simpson announced his bid to run for Georgia's 10th Congressional District, which now includes Baldwin County, late last year.
Simpson served as keynote speaker at GMC Prep School's high school graduation last month and is running for office primarily because of his dissatisfaction with the current political process, indicating a desire to build collaboration to conduct the peoples' business.
From his website,
"Stephen believes that our congress needs people who are more concerned with the good of the country rather than the next election. He believes in the necessity to change the culture on Capitol Hill or risk lengthening the economic recovery. We must develop reasonable and feasible solutions to our problems rather than obstructions.
"To get Georgia — and America — working again, we must develop reasonable and feasible solutions to our problems rather than obstructions."
Simpson is an advocate for tax code reform to encourage small business growth. He has been married for 38 years.
He and his wife Susan have two sons and have spent time in Virginia, Arizona and Europe through his military service.
Simpson is running for a seat in the newly configured 10th Congressional District in the 2012 Republican primary set for Tuesday, July 31. He is challenging incumbent Congressman Paul Broun.
Simpson has been endorsed by Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley.

Rusty Kidd - Ga. House, 145th District


A Milledgeville native, Rusty Kidd attended Baldwin High School before attending the University of Tennessee on a full sports scholarship, earning a bachelors degree in finance.

In the mid 1980s, Kidd opened Quick Loans, an insurance company which made small loans and sold insurance in middle Georgia. The company grew and merged into Middle Georgia Management, now employing more than 50 people at its 17 offices located throughout central Georgia.

He is the son of legislator Culver Kidd, who represented Milledgeville and Baldwin County in both the state Senate and House. Rusty’s great grandfather and grandfather also served in the Georgia House of Representatives working for the people of Baldwin County. His oldest sister, Tillie Kidd Fowler, served as president of Jacksonville City Council and as an eight-year member of the United States Congress from Jacksonville.

Rusty was elected in a special election in December 2009 to complete the unexpired term of former state Rep. Bobby Parham who left the Legislature for a post on the Georgia Department of Transportation Board.

Rusty has been a governmental consultant and lobbyist at the Georgia State Capitol since 1972, representing small and large clients, including Medical Association of Georgia, Marathon Oil Corporation, University Hospital of Augusta, South College, Georgia Special Olympics and Mission Energy Company. He was named as the most influential lobbyist by former Gov. Jimmy Carter.

He is a financial supporter of several organizations in Baldwin County, including the Milledgeville Boys & Girls Club, Baldwin County Habitat for Humanity, Georgia College, Georgia Military College, Milledgeville Main Street, Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce, Baldwin County Fire Department and the annual Deeproots Festival.

Kidd has two children, Katherine Kidd Reese and Culver Kidd, IV.

Quentin T. Howell - Ga. House, 145th District

A native of Baldwin County, Quentin T. Howell is a local business owner, running Howell’s Medical Equipment & Supply along with his wife Latonya. 

He began the business while in college after transitioning from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. While in college, he also started a house rental business and became a radio talk show host on Love 103.7. 

He became president of his class at Savannah State University. He continues to be an active member of the Litway Baptist Church in Savannah as well as being a lifetime member of Second Beulah Missionary Baptist Church in Sparta. 

Quentin worked throughout the community on numerous issues that affected the citizens. Whether it was taking students to church, starting numerous mentoring programs, volunteering in the local school systems, including at risk schools, or working with many grass root programs throughout the Savannah area. 

Quentin is a conservative Democratic, who has sponsored and participated in numerous food and clothing drives, as well as job and employment forums in the communities.

He believes that Baldwin and Putman counties can move forward with new leadership, understanding that small businesses are the life blood of the United States, and that tax incentives must be given to small business owners with growth for state industry. 

The Howell’s now both run two successful businesses.


Burt Jones, Ga. Senate, 25th District

Jackson native and businessman Burt Jones hopes to win a challenge to incumbent Republican state Sen. Johnny Grant and Milledgeville businessman Robert “Bill” Kent in the upcoming July primary in Georgia’s 25th Senate District. The eventual winner will go on to face the sole democratic candidate, Darrell Black, in the November general election.
Jones, 33, officially announced his campaign after qualifying to run in the primary May 25.
In a press release, Jones called on his leadership on the football field at the University of Georgia and his business skills as qualifiers for the state post.
Jones is owner of JP Capital and Insurance Inc. and serves as president of the Butts County Rotary Club. He sits on the boards of the Butts County Water and Sewage Department as well as Partners for Smart Growth. Partners for Smart Growth is an organization dedicated to establishing and promoting quality growth in Butts County and surrounding areas, according to a press release issued by his campaign. Jones is also a member of the Butts County Chamber of Commerce and is active within the Republican party.
He cites a need to stem the economic downturn as a reason for his candidacy.
He said he hopes to bring new leadership and energy to the district, which has suffered heavily in the economic downturn. He said the 25th District has suffered more than any other district and he hopes to bring his energetic leadership skills to the position to help the region grow and recover from massive job losses in both the public and private sectors.
Jones has a child with wife Jan. They are expecting a second child this month. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and resides with his family in Jackson.

Darrell Black, Ga. Senate, 25th District

Milledgeville resident Darrell Black has operated businesses in Milledgeville and hopes to take that business experience to the floor of the Georgia Capitol as the senator from the 25th District. He will be unopposed in the Democratic primary set for Tuesday, July 31. The sole Democratic candidate for the state senate will face off with an opponent in the November general election and for Black, that means a long stretch of working to win people's votes.
Black, 58, is owner of Flooring America in Milledgeville and maintains an oversight capacity over the other locations in the state of Georgia. He served on the Shorter College governing board and chaired the athletic committee and development and construction for the college's baseball complex. He also served as vice president of the Milledgeville Home Builders Association, The Union-Recorder Community Advisory Board, Hardwick Baptist Church singles director and Sunday school teacher.
Black calls upon his sense of service to place others above self, a core belief he attributes to his Christian principles.
Black previously sought public office in a special election after the retirement of longtime legislator Bobby Parham, D-Milledgeville, from the Georgia House of Representatives in 2009.
During the campaign, Black focused on education as a major component to economic recovery for the district and the region.
The seat eventually went to Independent Rusty Kidd, and Black focused on his business and work with the Georgia Democratic Party.

Emily Davis - Baldwin County Commission, District 1

Emily Davis was born and raised in Milledgeville by parents Geneva Bell Davis and late Oscar Davis, Sr., both of whom previously served as Baldwin County commissioners.

Emily graduated from Baldwin High School before attending Georgia Military College and Georgia College. Emily’s mother retired from the Baldwin County commission District 1 seat after nine years before Emily was elected to represent the constituents in 2008.

Emily has worked for the Baldwin County Board of Education for more than 20 years, where she is currently employed.

She is a member of Trinity CME Church and attends Green Pasture Baptist Church. She is also a member of numerous organizations, including Georgia Association of Educators, Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, Georgia Association of Black County Officials, Association County Commissioners of Georgia, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Emily also serves on the joint development authority for Wilkinson and Baldwin Counties, and as the first vice president of Sisterhood, Inc., which is a group of women helping to fight against HIV and AIDS via fundraisers.

Emily said she will continue to serve all citizens of Milledgeville-Baldwin County, beyond her district lines.

Lawson Lawrence - Baldwin County Commission, District 1

Lawson Lawrence was born in Milledgeville in 1953 to parents Frank and Martha Lawrence, both Baldwin County natives. His mother was an educator while father was school superintendent. Martha’s father, George Carpenter, served as superior court judge for nearly 30 years as well as a Milledgeville mayor.

Lawson is a 1975 graduate from the University of Georgia, earning a degree in anthropology and archaeology. While completing his studies, he worked with his mother in the real estate business and has since continued a successful career in real estate development, including the redevelopment of the former McGaw manufacturing plant into a viable business center known as the Columbia Center. Lawson also created Legacy at Sinclair, a luxurious condominium community in Baldwin County, developed several subdivisions, and owns numerous other businesses within the community.

Lawson’s goal is to create affordable housing for individuals within his district if appointed to the Baldwin County Commission District 1 seat. He also wants to create a community center to serve as a safe haven for local youth after school. He plans to donate his commission salary back to the district by distributing funds to various churches, and will work hard to bring new jobs to Milledgeville-Baldwin County.

He has two children, Heath and Bartlett. His partner Joannah Hollis is the chair of the Baldwin County republican party and was currently appointed to republican leadership for Georgia.

Tommy French, Baldwin County Commission, District 2

Tommy French Jr. is a Milledgeville native and a graduate of Baldwin High School. He is running for the District 2 seat on the Baldwin County Commission. He will face incumbent Linda Fussell and challenger John Ross in the Tuesday, July 31 democratic primary.
French went on to study at The Citadel following his high school graduation in 1984. In the following years, he returned to Milledgeville and worked for the Georgia Department of Corrections and went on to work at Central State Hospital where he is currently employed.
French is well-known in multiple local churches as he plays piano for choral arrangements. He has also logged numerous volunteer hours as a coach of football and basketball teams at the Baldwin County Recreation Department.
French said he feels the need to run for office based on a push from people in his district who he said feel they need a voice on the Baldwin County Commission. French said many times a lack of response from the county government has led people to ask him to run. He said he wants to help those people out.
French said he believes in open and honest communication and would make that a priority if elected. He said he feels the commission should do a better job instilling its vision in county department heads.
Top issues French said the county needs to stay on top of include the budget, mentoring and adequate recreation opportunities.
French said he favors more recreation facilities throughout the county rather than centralized at Walter B. Williams Park.
Honesty and open communication are vital to the partnership between government and the people, he said.

Faye Smith - Baldwin County Commission, District 4


As incumbent to the Baldwin County Commission District 4 seat, Faye Smith is a native of Bogart, but has been a Milledgeville resident for nearly 45 years. 

She graduated from Oconee County High School before attending Truett McConnell Junior College, the University of Georgia and Georgia College, where she earned a masters of education degree and specialist of education degree.

Smith worked within the Baldwin County public school system for 30 years as an educator teaching profound mentally challenged youth. She formally served as president and vice president to the Georgia Association of Educators, and was the first woman to hold the title for Georgia state senator of District 25, holding the position for six years.

Married to Tommy, the couple has four children — Yvonne Thompson, Dana Butts, Tom Smith and Tim Smith — with eight grandchildren.

She is a member of Black Springs Baptist Church.

Henry Craig - Baldwin County Commission, District 4


Local native Henry R. Craig is a Georgia Military College 1967 alumnus. He paid for his college expenses while working as a ward attendant at Central State Hospital’s veterans home where his father, Dr. James B. Craig, was superintendent.

Craig married Celia Ann Spivey of Hardwick in 1968 before he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He went on to earn a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical science and a master’s degree in management while serving in the Army for the next 20 years. He was initially employed by Continental Airlines as a pilot but retired two decades later as an airline executive in a flight operations, chief pilot position. In 2007, Craig permanently retired in Milledgeville.

Craig believes his experience gained throughout his two successful careers will be of great value toward resolving important ongoing, unresolved issues and also preparing Baldwin County to thrive in the future.

Craig is also a governor-appointed commissioner to the Georgia Traumatic Brain and Spinal  Injury Trust Fund where he serves as chair for the distribution committee and the distribution and application revision committee.

Johnny Westmoreland - Baldwin County Commission, District 5


Johnny Westmoreland moved to Milledgeville as a retiree from Robins Air Force Base after a 40-year career. He and wife Janice both became active in the political process after seeing the results of the 2008 election. The pair joined with the local Tea Party Patriots group and became engaged in the fate of local, state and national political contests.

Westmoreland decided to seek a spot on the county commission following the decision by Commissioner Bubba Williams, District 5, not to run for re-election.

Westmoreland said he feels the call to be more involved in politics, especially on the local level. He cites the county convenience center closings, road conditions and trash pickup as areas of concern for Baldwin County residents, and in particular, residents of District 5. 

He said he also is concerned about keeping property taxes in check, particularly around Lake Sinclair where many of the county’s more densely populated but unincorporated areas are.

Westmoreland has been active in recent years at county commission meetings and has concerns about the lack of regular citizen participation as well as communication at the local level. 

One of his biggest concerns is apathy and lack of involvement by citizens, adding to his desire to seek office and represent local taxpayers.

Westmoreland is a native of Macon, and he and his wife are both retired with three children and three grandchildren. He is also a delegate to the state Republican party.

Dwayne Sentell - Baldwin County Commission, District 5


Born in Tennessee and raised in Baldwin County, Dwayne Sentell is a local businessman and an active citizen of Milledgeville. 

He is an Alfa insurance agent and a licensed auctioneer at Sentco Auctions.

As a member of Northside Baptist Church, Sentell believes in simple values and looking for reasonable answers to problems.

He hopes to do right by his community as he works hard in business and politics.

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Election 2012
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