Macon commissioners: a meet-and-greet with Republican primary candidates

Meet the candidates, pick one

Three seats are up for grabs on the Macon County Board of Commissioners this year, but only one has a primary contest: two Republicans vying for one seat in the Highlands district.

Any Republican or unaffiliated voter in the county can vote in this primary race, even though it’s the Highlands district. Candidates must hail from that district, but the election is open to voters countywide.

Two commissioner seats are also up for election in Franklin, but all the candidates in that race — two Republicans, a Democrat, and Libertarian — automatically advance to the general election in the fall. A Democrat will join the mix for the Highlands seat come fall as well.

Here are the two Republicans facing off the primary:

Jim Tate, 42

Owner, Tate Landscaping Services

Tate graduated from the University of Georgia with a landscape architect degree. He lives with his wife and children in Highlands. The candidate has served on the Highlands zoning and planning boards, as well as Macon County’s planning board.

Political philosophy: “I feel like everybody needs to be responsible. [Use] simple, common sense.”

On Macon’s fund balance: “[My opponent] doesn’t like the fact that we have a big piggy bank.”

John Shearl, 45

Owner, J&J Lawn and Landscaping Services and Shearl Produce

Shearl is a retired firefighter. He lives with his wife and children in Highlands. The candidate currently serves on the Macon County Planning Board.

Political philosophy: “Limited growth in government, lower taxes and less regulation.”

On weathering economic uncertainty: “The government as a whole has to tighten their belts and stop this excessive spending. It’s going to take some tough decisions and very conservative-minded people to do this.”

On Macon’s fund balance: “In my opinion, that fund balance belongs to the taxpayers of Macon County.”

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