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Meet Georgia's House Seat 176 Hopefuls

By: Gabrielle Sarann Email
By: Gabrielle Sarann Email

A Wymodausis-sponsored political forum in Lowndes County drew four hot races, even the candidates battling for House District 176.

For Democrat Debra Tann and Republican Jason Shaw, creating jobs takes center stage.

But they have different ideas on how to get there.

"Encouraging business to grow and doing everything we can to give them the ammunition they need to grow because as they grow, and they make money, then they can have more people," said Shaw. "And we gotta put people back to work."

"Yes, we want a wonderful economy, we want jobs to come to our area but we have to be able to have the educated workforce in order to seize the job opportunities," said Tann.

South Georgia voters will decide who represents their region.

District 176 covers parts of Lowndes and Berrien counties and all of Lanier and Clinch.

And the job comes with responsibility.

The next member of Georgia's lower house will work with legislators to enact laws.

House members serve two-year terms, but they can be re-elected during every general election.

The salary is $17.342.68, according to the Georgia Speaker of the House office.

Whether it's not raising taxes or focusing on literacy, Tann and Shaw agree that national education standards aren't always best for our region.

They say programs like Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind may be beneficial for one school, but not the next.

"The focus really should be on the creativity of the teacher, the principle and the superintendent," said Tann. "We only know what's best for our community. There is no panacea. So, every district is different."

"The decision should be at the local level with your local school boards and your local school administrators and teachers to let them make the decision on what works best for their school," said Shaw. "And not let them come down from Washington."

Tann, the administrator of Genesis Christian School in Nashville, has been an educator for two decades and is endorsed by the Georgia Teacher's Association.

She taught government at the college level for seven years.

Shaw is a farmer and co-owner of the Jay Shaw Company in Lakeland, and is the first to grow olive varieties in south Georgia.

His father, Jay Shaw, held the district seat for 17 years.

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Registered voters can cast early ballots for House Seat 176 and other state races at the Board of Elections, which is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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** Lowndes County Commission Districts Two and Three candidates and those running for the Valdosta City Council post to replace John Eunice also attended the forum.


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