News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, July 25, 2012
EVANS, Ga. --- Georgia's primary is less than week away and in Columbia County, there are a handful of contested local races.
One is for the Commission District 3 seat where political newcomer Butch Holley is taking on incumbent Charles Allen.
"I'm a staple in the community. I have been very much involved in Columbia County and Evans since high school," Allen said.
"I am a regular person. I'm a businessman, father of two boys, and I can relate to the majority of people who live in Columbia County," Holley said.
They're tackling the issues, including the growth potential of Columbia County's new broadband and fiber optic network.
"To me it's just a natural, with the abilities that they say we're supposed to have, it's a great opportunity," Allen said. "The future job growth with us is going to be professional, entrepreneurs and IT and that's an area that I think is a real opportunity for us."
"New industry in Columbia County is not going to be traditional factory industry, it's going to be digital," Holley said. "We need a county commissioner that understands the ins and outs of the digital age as Columbia County moves forwards."
They each also say maintaining that growth is crucial.
"To keep our quality of living high, we need to grow our retail presence to bring in those sales revenues," Holley said.
"The highways, you've got to be able to move people from point A to point B safely and in a reasonable length of time," Allen said.
Both men are pointing the finger and say experience is key in this race.
"Mr. Allen has done a fine job, however, I believe he's a part of the problem we have in politics in general with incumbents that have completely lost touch with the constituency that they serve," Holley said.
"He's stumping. He doesn't have to say this can be done and that needs to be done and then it not work out, you know. Everybody's got the right to run for office if they're 21 and paid their taxes," Allen said.
"I firmly believe that the county commission needs fresh blood within it," the challenger said.
"I take this job seriously, and I enjoy it," the incumbent said.
Allen is the chair of the Development Services Committee and also sits on the board for the Martinez-Columbia Fire Department.
Holley points out there are three Allens on the ballot. Allen's wife, Kay, is uncontested to keep her county tax commissioner post and his younger brother, Rick Allen, is running for Congressional District 12. He believes it's time for someone new. Trey Allen, incumbent for Commission District 2, is not related.