Two candidates are again vying for the Democratic nomination to run for Long County District 1 Commissioner seat, while one Republican is unopposed.
Democratic voters will decide between David Richardson and Gerald Blocker in the May 24 primary. They also faced off in the 2013 primary. Blocker won and went on to win the seat in the general election.
Brian Bray is the GOP’s candidate.
David Richardson, 61, Democrat, is running again for Long County Commissioner District 1. He previously served as commissioner from 2009-13.
The Ludowici native graduated from Long County High School and attended Georgia State University. Richardson is retired from serving in the Georgia National Guard and is the owner of Richardson Farms. He is married to Julie Richardson, is the father to daughter Fallon Richardson and a member of St. Thomas Missionary Baptist Church.
He said he is seeking his old seat again because he wants to help promote Long County, manage the budget efficiently and address the concerns of residents in his district.
Richardson said his previous experience as a commissioner makes him qualified and he “knows how business should be handled.”
If re-elected, Richardson said he will help balance the budget and push for more spending in northern Long County. He also wants to restore, what he considers a lack of leadership at commission meetings.
“I believe I will be the best candidate for my district and I will serve my district with honesty and integrity,” Richardson said.
Gerald Blocker, 56, is the incumbent District 1 commissioner. He is a lifelong resident of Long County, is married to Cheryl Blocker and has two daughters, Bethany Odum and Whitney Smith. Blocker graduated from Long County High School in 1977 and is retired from the Georgia National Guard Training Center at Fort Stewart. He currently operates his own construction business.
Blocker said he is seeking re-election because he wants to promote business growth, save taxpayer dollars and assist in obtaining grants for county projects. He is also concerned about the welfare of Long County.
He is a certified county commissioner from the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia and takes advanced classes to continue his education on county government.
There are three main issues Blocker wants to address if re-elected. First, to recoup taxes from cellphones registered with Glennville addresses.
“Currently, if you have an address other than Ludowici, the taxes charged to your cellphone bill goes to the county of your mailing address,” Blocker said. “This will require all Long County residents to have Ludowici address.” Blocker added the county is losing $50,000 to $75,000 a year from cellphone taxes going to other counties.
He wants to revamp the public safety communication system for all law enforcement and first responders. He said a new system will increase signals on communication devices to areas of the county that receive little to no signals on the current system.
Blocker also serves as chairman of the 911 Services Board. He wants to restructure emergency telephone service and reduce the cost Long County pays for it. Blocker said Long County pays half of the cost, which totaled around $295,000 from the past few years. The cost is shared with McIntosh County. He thinks Long County should pay for call volume, which estimates to be 30 percent of the 911 service fees.
Overall, Blocker wants people to know that he is “an honest, hardworking man.”
Brian Bray, 42, Republican, is also running for District 1 seat, but won’t be challenged until the November general election. Originally from New Jersey, Bray has lived in Long County for 19 years and is a diesel mechanic for L-3 Communications on Fort Stewart.
After graduating from high school in 1992, he attended college for three years, majoring in business management and automotive technology. He and his wife Joanna have been married 20 years, and they have three daughters.
Bray said he is running for election because he feels Long County needs to change, grow and prosper.
“I have proven leadership in management roles,” Bray said. “I have a vision on what I would like to see in five, 10, 50 years for Long County.”
If elected, Bray wants to increase employment opportunities for residents and bring industries into the area. Bray said there is a lack of after-school programs for children and wants to work on bringing something like the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Clubs to the area.
Bray wants to tackle road repairs. He plans to work with the department of public works, Georgia Department of Transportation and apply for grants to fund road improvements. He said if a road in need of repair is located in a subdivision he will work with code enforcement on finding the subdivision owners and making them do the repairs.
Bray wants citizens to know that he is a hard worker and will try to move the county forward towards a better future for the children.
Editor’s note: District 1 is one of four Long County Commission seats up for election. Profiles on other candidates are scheduled to be published later.