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UPDATED: 4 candidates vie for Long County seat
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to add information on Republican candidate Mike Riddle that should have been included. This revised article will be published in Wednesday's print edition.

Candidates for the District 2 seat on the Long County Board of Commissioners are the Democratic incumbent with two party challengers 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
Charles Robert Brady

Charles Brady, 50, has been married for 28 years to his wife, Carol, and they have three children and six grandchildren.

Brady attended Bradwell Institute and is retired from the Maneuver Area Training and Equipment Site on Fort Stewart and the Georgia National Guard.

“I am currently employed with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office where I am a lieutenant in charge of security at the Justice Center, Annex, and Historical Courthouse,” he wrote.

Brady has lived in Long County since April 2009 and attends A New Beginning Church.

On what makes him qualified for the seat, he wrote, “I enjoy helping people and take pride in all I do. I feel I can make a difference in Long County.”

Revenue is one of the big problems for Long County, Brady wrote. He said the county is growing fast in housing and population, but not in business and industry.

“We need to see how we can take some of the burden off the property owners,” he wrote.

Along with increasing industry and business, Brady wrote that he wants to “look at ways to repair our road system, both dirt and paved. And do my best to help solve the problems of the citizens of Long County.”

Initiatives that Brady would champion if elected include hiring a county administrator, “redo the county pay for employees,” and adding recreational areas in the outlying areas of the county.

Robert Long (incumbent)

Robert Long, 63, is married to his wife, Dale, and they have one daughter and two grandchildren.

Long wrote that he is a 12th-grade graduate and a lifelong resident of Long County. He worked for the Georgia Forestry Commission for 34 years.

Long believes he is qualified for the position because of his “experience with working in government and people,” he wrote.

Roads and infrastructure are the most important issues affecting the district and the county, Long wrote.

He will represent all residents of the county “by listening and working to try all avenues. To accomplish their areas of concern,” he wrote.

If elected, he will “try to move our county forward by bringing in new business and adding jobs.”

“I hope that we can relieve some of the burden of taxes that is solely on the property owners backs,” Long wrote. “One other thing I would like to see achieved is our county road system paved and unpaved upgraded.”

Wallace A. Shaw

Wallace Shaw is a widower with six grown children and a graduate of Ludowici High School.

“I am a lifelong resident of Long County and an avid outdoorsman and enjoy hunting and fishing,” he wrote.

Shaw wrote that he has “completed numerous leadership training courses at Georgia Southern University and other educational facilities.” He also completed the Silver Standard of Excellence through the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the University of Georgia.

After high school, Shaw served for four years in the U.S. Marine Corps with tours in Vietnam and the Dominican Republic. His military decorations include the Purple Heart.

After the military, Shaw worked for the telephone company for 10 years and then went into business for himself.

“For the past 30 years, I have been a general contractor, specializing in general construction, site preparation and land clearing, road construction, storm/water drains, sewer and utility projects,” he wrote.

Shaw previously served eight years as a Long County commissioner and has served on a number of boards and councils, including as a member of the Governor’s Water Council and vice president of finance for ACCG for three years.

“I feel that my education, past experience as a Long County Commissioner, my vocation in road construction and storm water management, leadership training and ability, my experience in governmental finance and community service make me uniquely qualified to serve,” Shaw wrote.

The most important issue affecting District 2 is “the growth of Fort Stewart and its impact on the tax base,” he wrote.

“We must work together to find cost effective solutions which promote and manage the impact of this growth,” he added.

Shaw said his recent retirement allows him to be available to listen to and work with his constituents and other county residents.

“If elected, I would like to champion funding to address road projects, road maintenance and recreational facilities throughout the county,” he wrote. “I believe our county could benefit greatly from a professional county administrator and a strong grant writer. I also support looking for ways to improve delivery of E911 services to all of our citizens and ways to manage the future regulatory requirements as part of the mandatory system upgrades.”

Republican candidate
Mike Riddle

Mike Riddle, 53, has been married to his wife, Gina, for 27 years, and they have four children and four grandchildren.

Riddle is a graduate of Bradwell Institute and has a Bachelor of Arts in human resources administration from Saint Leo College as well as a Master of Science in leadership (emphasis in disaster preparedness and executive fire leadership) from Grand Canyon University.

Riddle and his family have lived in Long County for 11 years.

He is currently employed as a full-time firefighter by the city of Hinesville, is a freelance writer at the Glenville Sentinel and the Coastal Courier, and is a part-time plumber at ABC Plumbing.

Because of Riddle’s run for office, he is currently covering only Long County sports, not news, for the Courier.  

Among his qualifications for commissioner, Riddle lists his military service, serving as “member and chairman on Long County Planning and Zoning Board” and “Long County Board of Education, City of Ludowici, and Long County Commission, executive officer and delegate on Ft. Stewart Growth Management Partnership.”

Riddle wrote that one of the top issues facing the district is the need for road improvements, which also affects the rest of the county.

“All of these problems stem from one thing, our revenue growth has not matched our population growth,” he wrote.

Riddle said he wants to bring more business and industry to the county.

He added, “Our problems are not in the districts, but at the courthouse. We need leaders who will take their blinders off and start seeing the big picture.”

Reflecting on his work in journalism, Riddle wrote that his goal “has always been to be fair and treat all people the same,” and that he would continue that as commissioner.

If elected, Riddle wrote, he prays that his decisions “will be based on my beliefs as a Christian and as an American,” and that he will champion “accountability and transparency at the commissioners’ table.”

“The citizens of Long County deserve leaders who will make a vote and not abstain every time they feel uncomfortable with ruffling some feathers,” he wrote. “The citizens also deserve transparency; it’s time to stop making decisions before meetings, and time to stop whispering during meetings. If Long County is going to move forward, it is time to elect some leaders who will move the county forward.” 

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