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District 3 candidates vie for Henry County Commission
by Noreen Cochran
April 01, 2014 02:45 PM | 3347 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Henry County’s District 3 commission seat is up for grabs and three Republicans are vying in the May 20 primary for the chance to oppose Democrat I. Darryl Payton in November.

Incumbent Gary Barham, 59, is a fifth-generation county resident and lifelong McDonough resident.

He is a retired city of McDonough public works director and attended McDonough High School.

Barham is married with two sons and five grandchildren.

He is in his first political office, elected in 2012 under new rules which temporarily made District 3 a two-year term.

The term beginning Jan. 1 will be four years.

Barham said his top three issues are reducing spending, special purpose local option sales tax projects and public safety.

He said he is the best person for the job because of his track record.

“I have rolled back the millage rate in the first year elected to office, made sure the SPLOST provided road improvements with more than 84 percent of the funds, worked with the Lake Dow community helping them with a special tax district for the restoration of the dam and helped countless neighbors with everyday problems,” he said.

Barham will again face competition from William “Bill” Toney, as he did in the 2012 primary, which Barham won 2,305-1,566 in a runoff.

Toney, 66, is a 23-year resident of McDonough.

He is retired from the business he founded, Jenco Golf Carts, named for his wife Jenny.

They have six children, 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Toney said his top three issues are maintaining infrastructure like roads, creating jobs and promoting education.

The political newcomer said he is the best person for the job because of his life experience.

“I am sure the citizens have come across many others who are equipped for the job in terms of capabilities and abilities; however, looking at my past business experience, creativity and work performance you will find out that I am one of the most dedicated individuals who take their professional lives as seriously as they take their personal lives,” Toney said.

Their mutual opponent is Horace Brannan, of McDonough, 70, a lifelong county resident and graduate of “the old” Henry County High School. He is retired from about 40 years in residential and commercial construction. Brannan, a widower, has two daughters and one grandson.

Brannan said his top three issues are reduced spending, no new taxes and adhering to county quality-of-life standards.

The political newcomer said he is the best person for the job because he can offer guidance on the county’s bricks-and-mortar matters.

“I worked for the [Henry County] department of transportation at one time. I feel I can be some good for the county, not just District 3 but all citizens of the county,” he said. “I believe I can represent the people in a good way.”

In November, one of the three Republicans will face Payton, 51, a 17-year resident of McDonough and former planning and zoning commissioner.

Payton said his top three issues are communication, public safety and “jobs with fiscal responsibility.”

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