Quentin T. Howell hopes the third time is the charm, as he once again seeks election to the Georgia House of Representatives.
In two previous attempts, the 43-year-old Howell, a longtime businessman in Baldwin County and current chairman of the Baldwin County Democratic Committee, was unsuccessful in seeking office. He lost both races to former state Rep. Rusty Kidd, an Independent.
This time Howell is hopeful he will prevail. He is challenging incumbent state Rep. Rick Williams, a Republican, for the 145th District, which includes all of Milledgeville and Baldwin County, as well as the southern portion of Putnam County.
“I last ran eight years ago,” Howell said, noting it was the closest election in the state back in 2012. “We missed it by a handful of votes. It was a razor-thin election; it was very close.”
Times are different now, and Howell said he's learned a lot since those first two attempts.
“I’m running this campaign to put as many people back to work as possible in Milledgeville, Baldwin County, as well as those that I would be represent in Putnam County,” Howell said in a recent interview with The Union-Recorder. “We’re doubling down in putting people back to work in Milledgeville, and in Baldwin County, and this district as a whole.”
Howell said the residents of the 145th District through the years have been used to past leadership that no longer exists. The area has seen its unemployment increase since the closing of Central State Hospital and other larger industries in the area due to lack of leadership.
“Our overriding campaign is to put Milledgeville back to work,” Howell said, noting that the 145th District is one of the only districts in Georgia where there are more registered Democrats than Republicans, but yet is represented by a Republican.
Howell said above everything he wants everyone — democrats and republicans alike — to know that he will run “a very Christian, conservative campaign.”
In said he had the same approach when he ran in 2012.
“We’re trying to root this campaign with God in mind,” Howell said. “And I feel whatever happens in November that we can change lives and benefit our community as a whole.”
Asked how difficult he believes this year’s election will be challenging a Republican, as opposed to an Independent candidate, Howell quickly responded.
“I don’t think there will be too much difference simply because Mr. Kidd said he was an Independent, but he always caucused with Republicans, so it was just as though I was running against a Republican when I ran against Kidd those two times,” Howell said.
He said that he isn’t taking this election lightly.
“It will be a difficult campaign and it will be close,” Howell said. “Mr. Williams is a very nice man and I have nothing personal against him. And I'm sure he's done the best that he could do for this district, and God bless his heart for doing what he could.”
Howell said, however, it’s time that the people of the 145th District have someone new and more forward-thinking to represent them.
“It’s important for the people of this district to move forward,” Howell said. “We want to bring a new form of energy to this district that we need.”
Howell is pushing for better-paying jobs and benefits for those in the workplace.
“Unfortunately, Baldwin County has a corridor that has turned into a fast-food market, and while those jobs are needed in our community, we also need careers,” said Howell, who has served two times as a member of The Development Authority of Milledgeville and Baldwin County.
Howell said his campaign will focus on the creation of more jobs within the district, as well as economic development and trying to lure new, clean industry to the area.
Howell, who also is immediate past chairman of the 12th and later the 10th District of Georgia Democratic Committee, which is comprised of 25 counties, said he has worked with not only Democrats, but Republicans, and Tea Party members. Howell’s wife, Latonya, meanwhile, is one of the directors of the 10th District of Georgia Democratic Committee, and also serves as a state committee member.
He said he has discovered that some people on the other side of the political fence share many of the same ideas that he and other Democrats share and vice-versa.
“There’s not a tremendous difference,” Howell said. “And when I am elected as Georgia’s newest member to the Georgia House of Representatives, I plan to work with both political parties for the common good of all people in the 145th District.”
Howell said he has worked hand-in-hand with Republican leadership and that he plans to continue to work with the political party’s leadership.
Take the consolidation referendum that was on the ballot for voters in Milledgeville and Baldwin County in 2015, which was sounded defeated, he pointed out.
“Working together was very beneficial for our community, and we plan to continue to do that,” Howell said.
For several years now, Howell and his wife, Latonya, have been community-minded servants.
“We deeply enjoy helping the people of this area in any way possible,” said Howell, who also is a radio personality on LOVE 103.7 FM in Wilkinson County. “I try to live the life that I talk about.”
Howell is host a talk show on the radio on Sunday nights and a gospel show that airs on Sunday mornings.
“It’s one of the largest gospel shows in this part of the state,” Howell said.
Howell and his wife also own and operate Howell’s Medical Equipment and Supply. The couple also owns a rental housing business.