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Long County District 5 has 3 candidates
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Candidates for the District 5 seat on the Long County Board of Commissioners are the Democratic incumbent, with a party challenger who was a former commissioner and a lone Republican challenger. The May 24 primary will determine who will face the Republican candidate in November.

The following profiles are paraphrased based on email responses to questions given to the candidates that discussed their backgrounds, challenges facing Long County and what they intend to do if elected.

Democratic candidates

Dwight Gordon, incumbent

Dwight Gordon, 64, has been married to his wife for 43 years, and they have two children and four grandchildren. He is a lifelong resident of the county and a graduate of Ludowici High School.

“In July 2014 I retired from Rayonier with 42 years of service where I served as a department head, union representative and crew leader for many employees,” he wrote.

As a commissioner, Gordon wrote, he attended classes through the Association County Commissioners of Georgia that included county law, budgeting and finance, “which is invaluable as a commissioner.”

“My 42 years at Rayonier has also given me the ability to make decisions and work well with people,” he added.

Gordon sees road improvements as a big issue for the county, “but the lack of revenue from sources other than property taxes is one of the biggest issues facing Long County,” he wrote.

“The citizens of Long County carry most of the burden of our county budget,” he wrote. “We’ve got to get industry and businesses to locate in our county if we’re going to increase services to our citizens.”

Gordon wrote that if re-elected commissioner, he would like to see better services for county residents.

“And this will take state and federal grants, new businesses, the growth of industry and making sure all county funds are spent wisely and resourcefully,” he wrote.

Bobby Walker

Bobby Walker, 56, is married with two children and five grandchildren.

Walker has attended several military schools and universities, including Miami Dade College, the University of Alaska and Washington State University, and he listed business management and human resources as his topics of study.

At the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, “I along with a couple more Long County members have the most extensive local government educations obtained in a four-year program,” he wrote.

Walker grew up in Long County and is retired from the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Forest Service. He said much of the change the county has seen over the years “was for the better.”

“The demographics of our community has changed enormously, and that is what will continue to make our community a more favorable place to start, and also raise a family,” he wrote.

Walker wrote that his qualifications for the county commissioner seat “speaks for itself” based on his education and his “past record as a commissioner.”

“I have a proven financial and human resources background, but common sense is 50 percent of dealing with members of our community,” he wrote.

If elected, some of the initiatives Walker wants to champion are increasing the morale of Long County employees and keeping a financially transparent office.

“There were numerous changes during my last term in office, and if elected there will be again,” he wrote. “We need a board that can work together and leave personal feelings out of local government.”

Republican candidate

Randall L. Klingensmith

Randall Klingensmith, 45, has been married to his wife, Beth for 20 years, and has two children.

His degrees in higher education are a Bachelor of Arts in criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Science in acquisition and contract management from the Florida Institute of Technology and a Master of Science in management with a concentration in homeland security from Colorado Technical University.

Klingensmith also has attended numerous military courses throughout his 24-year career in the Army.

While in the Army, he worked as an armor crewman and then commissioned as a chemical officer and later served as an officer in the acquisitions corps, finally retiring as a lieutenant colonel at Fort Stewart.

He currently works at Gulfstream as a contract specialist.

Klingensmith has lived in Long County for eight years, is on the United Way of the Coastal Empire Board of Directors, and has volunteered for several organizations, including the Golden Isles Council for Wounded Veterans and the American Diabetes Association.

In addition to his diverse background, Klingensmith wrote that he has “a solid track record of commitment to, leadership of, and taking responsibility for the people that I was given the privilege to work with, lead, or work for.” He added that the drive that led him to serve 24 years in the Army even after being wounded, “is the same energy that I will put into this position.”

“My experience above and willingness to work with the citizens, fellow commissioners both current and former, neighboring counties, organizations, and industry will ensure success over the next several years and create a bright future through deliberate planning that we can pass to the next generation,” he wrote.

Klingensmith said the most important issue currently affecting the district and county is its infrastructure supporting growth and “responsibly planning future developments to not overwhelm county capabilities to support our new residents,” he wrote.

He will represent all residents of Long County “through accountability, responsibility, and transparency,” he wrote.

“This is the core tenets that our elected officials and our government should strive to so they can act in the best interests of our community,” he added.

Initiatives that Klingensmith wants to champion, if elected, are promoting responsible growth, training county employees, hiring a full-time county administrator, incorporating technology into county services and promoting transparency in government.

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