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Three man contest

A three-man race for the District 2 seat on the Grady County Commission developed as qualifying came to an end Friday.
Incumbent Commissioner Billy Poitevint qualified early last week, but his two opponents waited until Friday to sign on the dotted line.
Civil engineer Richard Powell and Grady County farmer Ray Prince both qualified as republican candidates Friday morning to challenge the one-term commissioner.
“If people are satisfied with what I’ve done over the last four years and they think I’ve represented them well, they ought to vote for me but, if not, then they should vote for someone else. It’s just a choice of what they want to do,” Commissioner Poitevint said.
The District 2 county commissioner said he is proud of his four years of service on the board.
He points to the replacement of a bridge on Pleasant Grove Road as one of his proudest accomplishments during his first term on the county commission.
“That bridge had been deemed unsafe and a school bus continued to go over it for three years before I got it replaced. I’m also proud to have helped to get the county road department to start clipping our paved county roads to give them a longer life. By clipping the shoulders you keep water from going under the road and causing damage,” Poitevint said.
The incumbent said he has also enjoyed working with his fellow commissioners on the Tired Creek Lake project.
“Naturally, I’d like to be able to stay on the board to see the lake completed and amenities developed at the lake,” Poitevint said.
Poitevint, 69, is the owner and operator of Cairo Roofing & Sheet Metal, which formerly operated on 2nd Ave. S.E., but since he semiretired in 2001 the operation has been moved to his home on Stage Coach Road. He began working with sheet metal in 1959.
He and his wife Twila have two grown children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The Poitevints are members of Eastside Baptist Church and they reside at 1926 Stage Coach Road in north Grady County.
If reelected, he said he would continue to work to manage the county’s budget and keep it at a level the taxpayers can afford to fund.
Richard Powell, who along with Prince, will be challenging Poitevint in the May 20 Republican primary is a civil engineer who operates his private practice out of an office in Thomasville.
Powell, 60, is a former member of the Grady County Planning Commission and currently serves on the Grady County Board of Registrars, as well as the Board of Directors of the Grady County Farm Bureau.
“It seems to me we could use the leadership and experience I can provide on the board of commissioners,” Powell said.
The consulting engineer said he does not have any specific agenda. He noted that the Tired Creek Lake project is underway and is a major project for the county. Powell also said that the issue of zoning in the unincorporated areas of the county had been an issue off and on for the last decade.
“I would appreciate the opportunity to serve,” Powell said.
He and his wife, the former Donna Cooper, have been married for 40 years and have resided at 196 Union Hill Road since 1982.
Powell grew up in Pelham and graduated from Pelham High School in 1971 and from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1975.
This is not his first attempt to win elected office, having made an unsuccessful bid for a Grady County Board of Education post in 1998.
Ray Prince is one of the largest farmers in Grady County. However, the fourth generation Grady County farmer has turned much of the management of the family’s farming operation over to his son Cole, which allows him time to serve on the county commission.
Prince and his son operate C&R Farms, which includes approximately 6,000 acres. In addition to raising a variety of row crops, Prince has between 1,200 and 1,400 head of cattle and 100 head of quarter horses.
He currently has a seat on the community board of Capital City Bank and the boards of the Grady County Farm Bureau and Southern States Cooperative.
“I want to give the people of District 2 a choice in this election. I will do the job to the best of my ability, and I will always try to do what is right. You can’t please all of the people all of the time, but you can try to represent what the majority of the people want,” Prince said.
The successful local farmer said he could not comment on many aspects of county government because he had not been involved in previous meetings or had access to all of the documents commissioners have had to make decisions over the years.
Prince, 57, said if elected he would research issues before making a decision. “You’ve got to have as much information as possible before you can make a decision. It’s hard to make a good decision without all of the information. I can’t know what all is currently going on and I will not get into ‘I would have done it this way or I would have done it that way’ when I wasn’t privy to all the information,” Prince said.
Prince said he supports the Tired Creek Lake project and he will work, if elected, with his fellow commissioners to see that tax dollars are spent wisely.
Through his farming operation he has managed and budgeted millions of dollars and he said his experience as an agri-businessman will benefit him as a county commissioner.
His roots in the community date back to just after the Civil War when his great-grandfather bought his first farm, a 250-acre tract, for $249 on the steps of the Thomas County Courthouse.
Prince is a 1974 graduate of Cairo High School and he earned a degree from Thomas Tech, which is now known as Southwest Georgia Technical College.
He and his wife Karla have five grown children between them and one grandchild.
The Princes reside at 2137 Ga. Highway 188.
District 2 voters can begin casting votes in the three-man county commission race beginning Monday, April 28. The primary election day is Tuesday, May 20.
With no democratic candidate qualifying for the District 2 commission post, the Republican primary on May 20 will be tantamount to a general election.

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