The Long County Chamber of Commerce held a meet-the-candidates forum Tuesday at Long County High School in Ludowici.
Candidates vying for local and state offices were at the forum, with each candidate having three minutes to tell the packed cafeteria why they should vote for them.
Republican candidates Jeff Chapman and John Tuten are seeking the state representative seat in the 167th District. Chapman said he worked for 10 years in a paper mill before starting his own trash-collection business with one truck. He said he went to a county commission meeting and could not believe how the elected officials talked to the public.
“Now the professionals, they treated good and were polite and courteous to, but the ordinary people, they spoke to in a bad manner,” Chapman said.
He went home from the meeting and told his wife that he was running for county commissioner. Chapman said that since that day, he has won every election that he entered because he treats people the way he wants to be treated. He said that if people want to know what kind of person he is or how hard he works, they should ask those who know him.
“I ask you to call your friends in Glynn County. Ask them about me. I feel like you will get a good report from them on me,” he said.
Tuten said he was against any tax increase and supported education and community development. Tuten also said he could relate to many of the difficulties audience members had experienced.
“I know what it is to be a military person, to be a working person and how hard it is to send kids to college because I’ve done it myself,” Tuten said.
He said as an architect, he designed the library in Ludowici and Smiley Elementary School. He said that his company merged with Buckley and Associates, which is building the high school.
In the soil and water conservation supervisor race, incumbent Cecil Stafford is being challenged by Ben Benton. The challenger wasn’t at the forum.
Stafford highlighted his experience by saying he served as supervisor for 19 years and chairman of the five-county Soil and Water Coastal District. He cited bringing in a $750,000 grant to help build a cable concrete system in many areas that corrected the flooding problem in most of the county.
“I enjoy conservation work and hope to continue working for you,” he said.
Other candidates spoke at the forum from races for sheriff, clerk of superior court, tax commissioner, board of education and the county commission.
Beginning in the July 24 edition of the Coastal Courier, each issue will have a story on two candidates running against each other. The first story will feature the clerk of superior court race, in which incumbent Frank Middleton is challenged by Sherry Long. Other stories will cover the sheriff’s race, in which incumbent Craig Nobles is being challenged by James Rogers, Darrell Ballance and Frank McClelland Jr.