BY CHRIS BRIDGES
Candidates for chairman of the Barrow County Board of Commissioners once again made their pitch to would-be voters last week.
Incumbent Doug Garrison and challengers Daniel Yearwood and Jim Beckemeyer addressed an audience at a forum hosted by the Barrow County Republican Party last Thursday at Statham Elementary School. Each candidate had three minutes to quickly stress why he would like to hold the office.
Garrison, who was the first of the three chairman candidates to speak, told those in attendance he was a native of Barrow County and that he has worked to keep taxes lower.
“Taxes are lower in Barrow County than anywhere in the immediate area except for Oconee County and they don’t offer as many services,” the current chairman said. “We have been proactive in shaping the community we want the last four years.”
Garrison noted a new Home Depot and the current construction of a Target as signs of progress as well as the Barber Creek Waste Water plant for the Statham area.
Garrison said he also wants to keep taxes lower for senior citizens.
Yearwood also stressed he was a native of Barrow County and has been a businessman for 40 years.
The lifeline of Barrow County is the Hwy. 316 area, Yearwood said, and that the property has not been used to its potential.
“I want to be your voice and to direct the commission to do what is best for you,” Yearwood said. “I will do what is best for the taxpayers.”
Yearwood said he is proud of the Barrow County Airport but is against the expansion of it.
Challenger Beckemeyer said he has been described as the “loose cannon” in the race and is known to be “rough around the edges.”
“I won’t sugar coat the truth,” Beckemeyer said.
The challenger operates a family farm and said he is not seeking the office for glory for fortune but noted he wants to raise his children where they do not have to attend school in a trailer.
“I want my children to know the local shopkeepers,” Beckemeyer said. “I will not embrace all growth. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. We will crush the small business with all this growth. The people who move here are doing so because they are looking for a rural community and that is what we need to give them.”