Gary Martin

Gary Martin, owner of Martin's Styling Center in Cedartown is running for Polk County Commission District 1. / Kevin Myrick

Local residents have a choice to make by the end of next Tuesday. Who do they want to represent them on the school board, for a Polk County Commission seat, and in statewide offices? The choices Polk County makes now can shape the future to come. To better help voters understand who everyone is on the board, we’re providing some brief profiles of local candidates in contested races. We’ll have more information on those who are running unopposed, or who will face a challenge in November later on this week.

If there’s one thing in this world Gary Martin loves more than serving people is laughing.

The owner and operator of Martin’s Styling Center for decades on North Main Street in Cedartown, Martin already has served a-plenty in Polk County. A past school board member and Cedartown city commissioner, the jolly and always-smiling Martin served two terms in each job before he retired off the Cedartown commission as 2015 came to a close.

Back then and even now, Martin has only one goal in mind: a “better quality of life for citizens of Polk County.”

In a visit to Martin’s Styling Center last week, he pointed out some areas where the County Commission needs to work on in quality of life areas, like working on blighted properties and putting in place an ordinance for residents in unincorporated Polk County to have to cut their grass after it gets to a certain unruly length.

Martin has also voiced a number of opinions about how to handle the Grady Road Landfill – “eliminate the stink and get the EPD man out there to make sure this thing is done correctly” was his quote at the Chamber political forum – as well as support for public safety, keeping taxes low, and not coming into the office with any kind of agenda.

He also wants to dig down into budget numbers, the same way he said he did when working on the Cedartown City Commission to lower costs but also ensure that employees are being well paid, mainly by controlling spending on small and large items. He added that the city avoided having to continue the use of Tax Anticipation Notes to cover costs.

He did seek the District 1 seat previously, when he was among several candidates for the position to fill the remaining term when the seat came vacant last August.

Martin has been in business in Cedartown for 54 years at Martin’s Styling Center. He has one son, Wade, who lives in The Villages, Fla., as an award-winning golf coach and professional.