Family: Harold Whitaker, husband of 35 years; two daughters, Kimberly Firman and Julie Reese; and one son, Travis Whitaker
Occupation: McDuffie County Tax Commissioner
Education: Graduate of Butler High School; courses at Augusta Tech and Continuing Education Center at UGA in Athens
Political Experience: Four years as tax commissioner; worked in tax office since 1987
Why are you running for office? "I am seeking re-election because I enjoy my job. I feel like I am the best candidate qualified for the job because I have the extensive training it requires to answer people's questions."
Why should someone vote for you? "I feel like I am the best qualified and I feel like I have given people the best customer service when they come in the office."
What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? "Being prepared for anyone who might have a question. Keeping up with the laws as they change."
If elected, what is one change you plan to make? "Extended hours, giving public better access. In the near future the office will be taking credit/debit cards."
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? "That I love to ride motorcycles."
Family: Judy Dunn, wife of 37 years; son, Michael Dunn; daughter, Traci Arnett; and 2 grandchildren, Bailey and Dalton
Occupation: Parts Manager for Augusta Turf and Tractor
Education: Graduate of Georgia Military High School in Milledgeville; 2 years college
Political Experience: None
Why are you running for office? "When I moved to McDuffie I moved to support McDuffie. I believe there is a need for a new tax commissioner and I was approached by enough people that I decided to give it a try."
Why should someone vote for you? "I'm from a manufacturing background and I understand that you have to get along with everyone all the time; the customer is always right. An elected official is put there to serve the constituents in the county."
What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? "Ensuring that everything concerning the tax office is done on time and letting the public be aware of those deadlines."
If elected, what is one change you plan to make? "I plan to be accessible to every person. Such as, to help them solve any problems with the tax office in a timely and efficient manner."
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? "The average person does not know that I am a member of a gospel quartet."
County Commission, Seat 2A
Family: Mazell K. Farr, wife of 45 years; daughter, Mary Farr; son, James Farr
Occupation: Retired dairy farmer
Education: Thomson High School
Political Experience: Served two terms as chairman, 1968-1976; served last four years as board member, seeking re-election
Why are you running for office? "Trying to serve the people of McDuffie County."
Why should someone vote for you? "I try to be honest and do what needs to be done to satisfy as many people as I can. I enjoy serving the public."
What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? "To meet the needs of the public."
If elected, what is one change you plan to make? "I think things are running smoothly; no changes come to mind."
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? "I'm still living in the house I was born in."
Family: Stacey Sharp, husband of 34 years; four children, Tonya Morris, Amanda Carter, Stacey Sharp Jr. and Jonathan Sharp; and six grandchildren
Occupation: Director of Agape Ministries, Co-owner of Sharp Enterprises, Pastor of Agape Outreach Fellowship Church
Education: Graduate of Thomson High; Classes at Augusta Tech; degree in theology and Christian counseling
Political Experience: Member of the Presidential Campaign and works with the Republican party
Why are you running for office? "I feel the input I could put into McDuffie County would benefit a lot of our community members."
Why should someone vote for you? "I would like for them to believe that I could make a difference in their...community. For more than 30 years I have been involved with community and government programs. When you have that many years experience working with the people you know more about their needs."
What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? "Sometimes the people in a political office do not always get across to the public what they can do to help them and vice versa."
If elected, what is one change you plan to make? "I would like to be more on the level with the citizens of McDuffie County to help them with their problems."
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? A lot of people would be surprised to know about all the different walks of life I am involved in; from Agape Ministries to computer sales."
Superior Court Judge
Family: Wife, Tamara Black Hammond; three children: Sarah Gayle, Elizabeth and John Thomas
Education: Graduate of Thomson High School; Graduate of North Georgia College, Bachelor of Arts; Graduate of Cumberland School of Law at Samford University
Political Experience: First campaign for political office
Why are you running for office? "The Court's actions touch the lives of people, and I believe that the Court can make a positive impact on their lives. I am seeking this office to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and equally by the Court and that the people have access to the Court."
Why should someone vote for you? "I will give 100 percent of my energy and effort to ensure that all people are treated fairly and equally. I will also ensure that the Court channels its efforts toward improving the lives of people."
What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek?Ý "The biggest challenge facing this office is to ensure that the Court's actions positively affect the lives it touches."
If elected, what is one change you plan to make?Ý "If elected, I plan to spend the time prior to assuming office by speaking with the other Attorneys and Court personnel to see what aspects of the Court's operation may be improved, and how we can ensure that the public has greater access to the Court."
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?Ý "I am pretty much an open book.Ý What you see is what you get."
Family: Kathy Hinesley, wife; daughter, Christina (20); son, Rhett (11)
Occupation: Attorney and Juvenile Court Judge for the Toombs Judicial Circuit
Education: 1968 graduate of Warren County High School; 1972 honor graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in Political Science; 1975 graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law
Political Experience: None previously
Why are you running for office? "I have enjoyed serving as the Juvenile Court Judge for the past four years. I have prepared myself for the position of Superior Court Judge. I made it known several years ago that I would like to seek the position of Superior Court Judge when Judge Davis retired, and was encouraged to run by friends and clients in all six counties of the circuit. I would be honored and privileged to serve the citizens of the Toombs Circuit in that position. I have known since I was in the ninth grade that I wanted to be a lawyer, and I worked hard to ensure that I would be admitted to the University of Georgia School of Law. After 29 years in private practice, including four years as Juvenile Court Judge, I feel that I have prepared myself to be a Superior Court Judge, and I believe I am the most qualified candidate."
Why should someone vote for you? "I am the most qualified candidate to be the next Superior Court Judge, I have 29 years of experience in the private practice of law, which includes handling cases in almost all areas of law as well as civil and criminal jury trials and appeals to the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court. I am licensed to practice law in the federal court and have tried cases in federal court in Augusta and in Brunswick. I am currently serving as the Juvenile Court Judge for our circuit. I was appointed to that position in 2000 by our two Superior Court Judges over six other attorneys who also applied for the position. I believe I was selected because the judges felt I was the most experienced and the best qualified."
What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? "The growth rate of both civil and criminal litigation."
If elected, what is one change you plan to make? "Judges cannot make changes in the law. I intend to uphold the law, not to make law. The only possible changes Judges can make involve procedural matters. I would like to see scheduling changes made so everyone who is scheduled to be in court is scheduled for a specific time, rather than everyone being required to be in court at the same time and having to wait for their case to be called. This procedural change will require the cooperation of all parties involved in the court system."
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? "I think people would be surprised to know that the summer after my first year in law school, I worked for Sen. Herman Talmadge in Washington, D.C., during the Watergate hearings. Another surprise would be that I also worked one summer during college as a fishing guide in Yellowstone National Park."
Family: Wife Julie, Son Caleb (20), Daughter Chelsey (18).
Education: Bachelor of Arts from Georgia State University with major in History and minor in Psychology. Juris Doctors from Woodrow Wilson College of Law.
Political Experience: None previously
Why are you running for office? "I have a desire to serve others and this position will allow me to continue serving others in a way to make a visible difference in the lives of people in our community. I promised Judge Stevens during the time I was his Law Clerk that I would one day seek the Judgeship. I am keeping that promise."
Why should someone vote for you? "I have seen the court system work from both sides of the bench. For three years I viewed every trial in this circuit and wrote all Orders of the Court for Judge Stevens. For the past 20 years I have had the most versatile practice of any candidate. I have tried numerous cases to jury verdict - death penalty cases, personal injury cases, contract cases, estate cases and the list goes on. I have spent more hours in the courtroom as law clerk and practicing attorney than anyone I know. My experience guarantees the voters a Judge knowledgeable of the law and capable of performing the duties of Judge."
What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? "The biggest challenge facing the Superior Court is to efficiently and effectively dispense justice. People must know the presiding Judge is tough, fair and honest and that justice will be served quickly."
If elected, what is one change you plan to make? "The one change I would make is to attempt to meet with the attorneys in advance of hearings to require they discuss the issues they can agree upon. Only disputed issues need to be tried by the Court. This will expedite the daily matters coming before the Court and not waste the time of witnesses who are required to sit for long hours waiting on their turn to testify."
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? "While serving as Law Clerk to Judge Stevens, I was contracted with a law book publisher to update a series of law books on Personal Injury and Property Damages. These updates were published bearing my name. Judge Randall Evans also contributed writings to the same publisher giving Thomson two lawyers to be published by the same law book company."