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Candidates share views at annual event

A local political newcomer and a man seeking state office addressed a group of farmers and other guests during the Annual McDuffie County Farm Bureau City Supper held at Young Memorial United Methodist Church near Thomson on Saturday.

Six political candidates had been invited to attend, but only Ray Roquemore, of Thomson, and Charles Ashfield, of Putnam County, attended and talked about their political platforms.

This year's McDuffie County Farm City Supper was organized by J. Robert "Bob" Farr, the longtime president, and Avis McGahee, who has been chairwoman for several years.

Mr. Roquemore, a Republican, is seeking the District 1, Seat A position on the McDuffie County Board of Commissioners. He is challenging incumbent Sammie Wilson Sr.

Political candidates invited to attend were: Mr. Wilson, U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, State Sen. Bill Jackson, State Rep. Sistie Hudson and Russell Edwards.

Mr. Roquemore and Mr. Wilson will face off in the November general election. Early voting is underway at the local elections office on WhiteOak Road.

Mr. Roquemore, a retired executive with Lockheed Martin, now raises cattle on his Circle R Ranch that he and his wife, Lorraine, purchased back in 1970.

The couple had been venturing from their home in Marietta to Thomson on weekends until they moved to here following Mr. Roquemore's retirement.

He described he and his wife as "weekend farmers" before they became full-time residents of McDuffie County.

Mr. Roquemore, who holds a degree in nuclear physics and business, pledged to help in trying to bring in more industry and businesses into McDuffie County.

Mr. Ashfield, who describes himself as a fiscal conservative Republican, is challenging incumbent State Rep. Sistie Hudson, a Democrat who lives near Sparta, for her 124th District seat.

Mr. Ashfield, who is retired after 34 years with Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, said because of the turmoil and lack of conservative leadership within the nation andGeorgia in the past year, he felt the need to run for public office.

"Georgia has a spending problem more than a problem of money coming in," Mr. Ashfield said, noting he would do away with wasteful spending and duplicate services.

Mr. Ashfield also believes in making the state's public education better.

"We've got to educate our kids," he said. "They are our future."

Mr. Ashfield favors smaller student classrooms.

"I believe students can learn better in smaller classrooms," he said.

He also believes that discipline should be restored to the classroom and that control of the local school systems should be left up to local school officials -- not those on the state level.

Web posted on Thursday, July 01, 2010

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