The first candidate has thrown their hat in the ring to run for Stephens County Commissioner.
Local real estate agent Michelle Grafton has announced that she will run for the Stephens County Commission Post held formerly by the late Harold Andrews, who passed away last Fall.
Grafton said she will run as a Republican in both the Special Election in March to fill the remainder of Andrews’ unexpired term and the General Election this year to serve a full four-year term beginning January 1, 2015.
She said the economy is her chief concern.
“I am running because I have a 7-year-old son and when he gets to 18 years old, I do not want him to have to move out of the county just to find a job, so I feel like jobs are really important for our county right now,” said Grafton.
To do that, Grafton said she feels there are two things that stand out.
She said the first is to continue working to resolve the Wilbros odor controversy.
“I think we need to continue our fight (against) Wilbros,” said Grafton. “I am on the board of the Concerned Citizens (of Toccoa-Stephens County). I am the vice president. We have worked really hard to try to get something accomplished with that facility. I think that, number one, is most important because a lot of jobs are not going to come to our county if it smells the way it does.”
Grafton said the second thing is to implement some type of land use protections.
“Without land use, we are not going to get the kind of jobs that we want,” said Grafton.
Grafton said she looks forward to the opportunity to help serve the citizens of StephensCounty and make a difference.
She attended Stephens County High School and Piedmont College.
Grafton is also a member of various committees, including the Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce Board, the Land Use Regulations Committee, and the Realtor Board that serves Stephens, Franklin, and Hart counties.
The special election to fill the unexpired term of the late Harold Andrews is set for March 18 and qualifying for the special election will take place later this month.
Currently, J.B. Hudgins is filling Andrews’ seat on the commission after being appointed by Stephens County Probate Judge Glenda Ernest.
Hudgins has said he would not run for the seat this year.