Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes was in Thomson Jan. 13, stumping for votes in his bid to become the first man in a half-century to reclaim the highest elected post in the state.
"I really never had any intentions of running for governor again, but things are so terrible in our state, I really felt the call to lead again," Mr. Barnes told The McDuffie Mirror . "I want to try to straighten some things out in our state -- one of the biggest being education. I love the state of Georgia and I love its people."
Mr. Barnes said education would be his top priority, if elected governor later this year. In addition, the economy also would be another focus of his administration.
"We need some new vision for our state and its problems and I think I offer that for the people of this state," Mr. Barnes said.
The 61-year-old Mr. Barnes, a prominent attorney in the state, visited with several local elected officials and residents in Thomson and Warrenton. One of those he spent time with in Thomson was McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall. The two became friends when Mr. Barnes, a Democrat, served as governor for four years.
Mr. Barnes and Sheriff Marshall talked for a few minutes at the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center before venturing into downtown Thomson. The sheriff later introduced Mr. Barnes to several local officials -- one of whom was Thomson City Administrator Don Powers.
The former governor also conversed with local Superior Court judges Roger W. Dunaway, Jr., Harold Hinesley and Purnell Davis, now retired. While at the courthouse, Mr. Barnes also visited with McDuffie County Probate Judge Valerie Burley, as well as County Manager Don Norton and other city/county employees.
Mr. Barnes also visited with employees at the local district attorney's office and walked into Ivery's Restaurant in downtown where he talked with perspective voters.
Accompanying Mr. Barnes on his campaign swing through McDuffie, Warren and Wilkes counties last Wednesday was retired Major Jerry Ragan of the Georgia State Patrol, who formerly served as director of security when Mr. Barnes was governor.
Another longtime friend with the former governor was Frank Bates, who grew up in Crawfordville and later became an investigator with the Toombs Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office in Thomson. Mr. Bates is now a retired state employee.