Republican Brian Hart sailed past Democrat Hakie Shropshire Nov. 3 to secure the District 3 seat on the new Walker County Board of Commissioners.

Hart secured 5,605 votes, or 82.21%, to Shropshire’s 1,213 of 6,818 votes cast in the general election, according to unofficial results posted by the Georgia Secretary of State; results will be official once certified. District 3 encompasses LaFayette and the southeast corner of the county.

Serving as a member of the new board of commissioners will be a new experience for all involved, Hart said.

“The four of us that were elected to represent the four districts are different and each possess different strengths,” he said. “I feel very positive that we can come together and work with Commissioner Whitfield to move Walker County forward in a positive direction.”

Hart attributed his victory to voter confidence that his understanding of county operations garnered through 30 years of experience in government in Whitfield County, as well as his construction project experience in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, “would translate to success in starting up our five member board.”

“I’m not surprised that I lost,” Shropshire posted on his Facebook page. He believes potential voters did not see a campaign, and his opponent’s platform consisted of being the Republican candidate.

“My signs and banners were taken down from day 1,” Shropshire wrote. “I spoke at a forum back in March and the Georgia Transparency Coalition recorded all District(s) except for my District. I’m not blind to the fact that people were trying keep me silent.”

Hart

Hart, who owns and operates a cow/calf operation in Villanow, said to prepare for taking office he has been attending county meetings to familiarize himself with policies and procedures, and the newly-elected county commissioners will attend state-mandated training, which is scheduled in December.

“As I stated in the campaign, debt, infrastructure and county employees are my top three priorities,” he said. “They will remain my priorities. We will all have a learning curve to get through, but I am positive that the five of us will make a good team.”

He pointed out that national and state races seem focused on “how much negativity one can point to his/her opponent. As I talked to folks in my district,” Hart explained, “I talked about things that were important to me and how I thought the county could improve or sustain different operations.”

Hart said he has a “great deal of respect” for his opponent, calling him “a fine person” and saying he hopes Shropshire remains active in the community.

“He has a lot of great ideas and a very bright future ahead of him,” Hart said.

Shropshire

Shropshire cautioned voters that when they vote for the same party over and over again in Walker County, they will get the same result. He also signaled on his Facebook page his plans to run for LaFayette City Council.

His post included photos of highlighting sidewalk and road maintenance issues, explaining them as examples of how the city leaders paves roads in neighborhoods that don’t matter to them, he posted, adding that he walked the sidewalk as a child.

“This is what you get when you don’t vote and allow the same people hold office uncontested,” he wrote.

During the campaign he asserted that his education and work history in electrical engineering, road construction, trucking industry, and operating heavy equipment would be valuable as a commissioner. He joined the Army National Guard in 1999 and holds a degree in computer networking, he said.

Shropshire’s top priorities included street paving, trimming trees and cutting back vegetation along roadways, and investing in local businesses.

Tamara Wolk, a reporter for The Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga., and Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., contributed to this article. Catherine Edgemon is assistant editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and the Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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