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District 3 commission seat decided
by Mary Cosgrove
September 20, 2012 08:19 AM | 2116 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
District 3 commission candidate Gary Barham is already preparing to take office come Jan. 1.

The former city of McDonough public works director, Barham defeated Republican candidate Ken Sherman in the July 31 election, but landed in the Aug. 21 runoff with other Republic candidate Bill Toney, having received only 46.8 percent of the vote to Toney’s 43.1.

He secured majority vote of 59.57 to Toney’s 40.43 in the runoff, and learned the evening of the runoff that Democratic candidate Sandra Vincent dropped out of the race.

Barring losing to a majority write-in vote in November, Barham will be taking the helm at the first of the year.

“I’m going to be spending a lot of time looking at each department myself, and I’m going to be looking for ways that we can cut spending,” he said.

Reducing county spending was one of Barham’s key platform points.

“I wanted to use a more common sense approach to spending in county government, and I also support a freeze on purchasing any land unless it’s associated with a road improvement,” he said.

Barham said he is opposed to raising taxes any further.

“This year the county project $105 million projected income and they passed a budget of $115 million, so that’s a $10 million deficit. They increased the millage rates to account for that,” he said. “I’m saying we’ve got to live within our means. We’ve got to find way to cut

“We can’t continue to raise taxes in Henry County. We have to live within our means like any other family in Henry County.”

He also ran on a platform of having more transparency in government.

His 31 years spent working for McDonough government will aid him during his term, he said.

“I know how government works,” Barham said. “I think my experience brings a lot to the county board.”

Barham will be joining a board that is losing some turnover.

Current Commission Chairman Elizabeth “BJ” Mathis lost the runoff to Republican candidate Tommy Smith, who will face Democratic candidate Carlotta Harrell in November.

District 1 incumbent Warren Holder lost the general primary to Republic candidate Bo Moss, who will now face Democrat James C. Mays.

“There are still some races out there that have not been determined yet, and I just look forward to working with whoever wins,” Barham said.

District 2 incumbent Brian Preston is facing Democratic challenger Jackie Anderson-Woods in November.

District 4 and 5 seats were not up for re-election this year, meaning Reid Bowman and Bruce Holmes will remain on the board, respectively.

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