published Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Whitfield County candidates focus on economy

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DALTON, Ga. — As each Whitfield County candidate was given three minutes to speak Tuesday night, most stressed the importance of improving education and the local economy.

But few at the forum hosted by the Dalton Tea Party outlined the challenges local education leaders will have to make like the candidates running for school board.

"I'm not going to lie to you, there's tough decisions that have to be made," said Thomas Barton, who is running for re-election for District 1.

Barton was referring to the deficit the school board is facing this coming year and to a referendum on the ballet for the education special purpose local option sales tax.

His opponent Nicky Starling, a local pastor, instead spoke on the importance of transparency in hiring and firing of school employees.

Most of the local seats are up for re-election this year, and both Democratic and Republican candidates were invited Tuesday night to speak for three minutes.

Several candidates are running unopposed, such as, district attorney, coroner, Supreme Court judge and state Senate for District 54.

State Rep. Tom Dickson is also running unopposed while three candidates are looking to replace Rep. Roger Williams, R-Dalton, who is retiring.

The three candidates running against current Clerk Melica Kendrick -- Susan Miller, Jody Stuckey and Jessica Swinford -- talked about wasted spending and about how they wanted more transparency and access for the public.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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