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BOC Dist. 3 GOPers talk issues
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A farmer and an information technologies professional, both in their first campaign race, are vying for the Republican nomination for the Board of Commissioners District 3 seat.

As a project manager for Coca-Cola Company, one of the world's largest corporations, Matthew Eason said his job has given him the necessary experience to serve on the council.

"Our objective is to do things as efficiently as possible with the least amount of cost involved," Eason said. "What I've been doing for the last 20 years, it coincides with a commission's office."

 Keith Mitcham, a fifth-generation Newton County farmer, believes his "common-sense approach to everything," will serve him well if he is elected.

"I don't have a private agenda," Mitcham said. "I hope everybody, if they have a problem, will approach me and we'll work through it."

Mitcham said Newton County residents can expect him to keep conservation concerns in mind if he is elected to represent District 3.

"I am looking to have somewhat of a preservation of Newton County as far as keeping good quality growth coming into the [area]," Mitcham said.

Eason, who resigned from his position as second vice chair of the Newton County Republican Party in order to run for office, said he decided to seek the nomination after several people asked him to run.

"I was approached to run for it and after consideration of what it would take and if I have the bandwidth to do it, I decided to run," Eason said. "The more I look into it, the more I want to be in there to help."

If elected Eason said he would work to ensure that the BOC runs the county in a fiscally responsible manner.

"Our fiscal responsibilities are becoming higher and higher," Eason said. "We don't want to go in debt. My main prerogative is a balanced budget."

Mithcam's family farm, Mitcham Cattle Company, is a 1,000 cattle stocker operation. The farm is also well-known for its elaborate annual maze called Colonel Cob's Corn Maze. He is a member of the Newton County Farm Bureau where he serves on the bureau's board of directors and is chairman of the bureau's legislative committee.

A graduate of Newton County High School, Mitcham also attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. He and his wife, Sandi, have two sons and are members of Oxford Baptist Church.

"I am a lifetime resident of Newton County," Mitcham said. "I think that kind of gives you some kind of credit, as far as caring about the county."

Originally from Rockdale County, Eason has lived in Newton County for the past 25 years. He received his bachelor's of science in electronic engineering from DeVry University. Prior to working at Coca-Cola he was employed with Pratt Industries in Conyers.

Eason and his wife, Shirley, have one daughter. They are members of The Church at Covington. He is a past volunteer of the Newton County Republican Party and a soccer coach with the Rockdale Youth Soccer Association.

"I just want to keep [the county as] a small-town environment," Eason said. "Growth is important, but it has to be controlled."