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Posted: April 29, 2014 8:43 p.m.

2014 Election Candidate Profiles: Sharon Sawyer

Sharon Sawyer is taking a second shot at unseating Democratic incumbent state Rep. Pam Dickerson in the May 20 Primary, and Sawyer’s campaign message is simple: vote for Sawyer, because she actually lives in Newton County.

Given that more than 90 percent of state house District 113 falls in Newton County – the remainder is in Rockdale County – Sawyer believes the representative for the district should be a Newton County resident.

Platform

“I refuse to vote for somebody who lives in Rockdale County, the smallest county in the state, when only 5-10 percent of the district is in Rockdale County,” Sawyer said recently. “To elect somebody who doesn’t pay property taxes, who doesn’t pay local sales taxes and who you only see once every two years doesn’t make sense. I’ll take care of home first.”

Dickerson lives in the part of the district which is just across the border in Rockdale County, off Ellington Road. Sawyer lives off Morningside Drive, south of Porterdale.

“You’ll be able to talk to me on a regular basis; you’ll see me in the streets, see me in the grocery story and be able to talk to me. I’m your neighbor; you’ll have access to me, and I’ll be a person listening to your problems and carry those to the state,” Sawyer said.

If elected, Sawyer, 60, said she would focus on improving education in the state and work to ensure Newton County residents are prepared to earn the jobs that will be created by mega biopharmaceuticals manufacturer Baxter International and future industries.

Baxter International is located in Stanton Springs industrial park, a 1,620-acre that was jointly created and funded by Newton, Walton, Morgan and Jasper counties.

“Rockdale County was not in the group of counties that funded Baxter. No Rockdale County tax dollars were put into that project, where all of these jobs are going to come from,” Sawyer said.

“I want to run to make Newton County better and make sure we get everything from the state level coming our way. I want to make sure our young kids get the opportunity to pursue jobs coming here in the future.”

Sawyer said education is crucial to the county’s future success, whether that means getting children into college or preparing them to be ready for the workforce out of high school. However, she emphasized that the state can only do so much and said parents need to be more involved.

Sawyer previously ran against Dickerson in the 2012 Primary, but finished second out of three candidates in the primary before losing in the August runoff election. She also unsuccessfully ran for the District 5 Board of Education seat in 2010.

Professional experience

Sawyer has been a financial claims specialist with Acuity Brands (formerly Lithonia Lighting) for 16 years and works to find solutions to payment disputes between customers and the company.

She previously was a commercial collector for radar detector manufacturer Beltronics for more than seven years and spent 15 years as a bookkeeper in the commercial collection division at Dun and Bradstreet, a corporate credit rating company.

Education

Sawyer graduated from the former Murphy High School in Atlanta, and took some college courses at DeKalb College, as well as various professional courses through her jobs.

Community involvement

Sawyer is a board member on the local Covington homeless shelter’s board of directors and is a founding member of the African-American Historical Society. Sawyer is also a co-host on the local radio show Thy Brothers and Sisters Keeper on WGFS 1430 AM alongside her husband, Forrest Sawyer Jr., a local black historian and civil rights activist.

Sawyer is also a deaconess at Early Hope Baptist Church and a patron of the Newton County Arts Association.

Contact

Sawyer can be reached via home phone at 770-788-0792, cell phone at 404-693-4992 or by email at Sharon.sawyer@charter.net.

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