Democratic incumbent Willie Thompson will face challenger Walter Pelton for the Long County Board of Commissioners District 3 seat in the May 24 primary election.
There are no Republican candidates.
Pelton, 50, described himself as “a military brat.” He moved around a lot as a child and graduated from high school in DuBois, Pennsylvania. He lived in a small area in Pennsylvania, Penfield, which he said is “about half the size of Ludowici.” Pelton attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he studied music education and criminal justice. After college, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Military Police officer.
He settled in Long County after two enlistments with the Army and worked as a Hinesville police officer. Pelton then became an insurance adjuster, which he has been doing for more than 15 years. He also worked as a part-time Long County sheriff’s deputy until deciding to run for commissioner.
He is a member of the Altamaha Masonic Lodge in Ludowici and the founder and administrator of the Georgia Low County Diabetes Association. He is married to Mary Pelton, and they have two daughters.
Pelton said he is running for commissioner because he wants to help promote the community. He said Long County is growing fast, and a good growth strategy is needed to avoid burdening taxpayers.
He thinks his time with the Sheriff’s Office has given him a lot of experience in working with community members. His time in the military developed his leadership skills and a strong sense of commitment, while being an insurance adjuster helped his negotiating skills, Pelton said. He added that his faith and desire to see his community thrive keep him motivated.
If elected, Pelton said he would work on having a jail in Long County and moving the 911 center back to the county. He also wants to find a grant writer to help bring in outside funds and address the county’s infrastructure to prepare for future growth.
Pelton said he loves his community and wants to create a great place for future children.
“Our predecessors have carved a great community. However, times are evolving, and if we do not evolve with them, we will be swallowed up,” he said. “We can still have the same small-town feel we have always enjoyed, yet still move into the future prepared for progress.”
Pelton encouraged voters to listen to each candidate and decide who will be the “best steward of county business.”
Thompson, 61, was born in Millen and moved to Long County in 1970. He graduated from Long County High School in 1974 and worked as a contract driver for the U.S. Postal Service for 30 years. He is now retired. Thompson is married to Beverly Thompson, and they have one son, Russell.
Willie Thompson said his first term as commissioner was a learning experience. He attended classes and advanced-level courses to receive the status of certified county commissioner from the Association County Commissioners of Georgia. Thompson wants to use his experience and training to better serve his district and county.
If re-elected, Thompson wants to improve dirt roads and streets in subdivisions. He plans to work more closely with Code Enforcement and the Road Department. He wants to address the following issues: bringing more industry that will provide jobs, the availability of low-income housing and providing more safe recreational options for families and youth.
“It is my job as a commissioner to be a good steward over the taxpayers’ money and work to insure proper hiring practices are conducted across the board,” he said.
Thompson said he is honest and trustworthy and wants the best for Long County. He said he will do his best to be a strong voice for his constituents.